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Install prison body scanners to stem drugs tide, says new CSJ report

All 118 prisons in England and Wales should be equipped with body scanners to curb the endemic problem of prison drug smuggling, according to a new report by the CSJ, Drugs in Prison

Drug use in prisons is rife, according to the report, with just under one in three prisoners saying it is “easy” to get hold of drugs. In particular, the use of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) – often referred to as ‘legal highs’ – has skyrocketed in prisons, however prisoners are not yet tested for the substances.

The report sets out why it is crucial that prisoners are helped to recover fully from drug addiction and how it can be done. In short, success requires a three-pronged approach:

  • Drugs must be kept out of prisons;
  • Demand for drugs must be reduced;
  • Drug addicted prisoners must receive effective support into recovery.

The report sets out how prisons can meet these three requirements. It recommends that each prison should immediately install body scanners to stop drugs being smuggled into prisons.

The X-ray scanners can detect if people are smuggling drugs under clothing or inside body cavities. They have been described as a “game changer” in the US where they are now commonly used.

The report also argues for more effective drug testing and a swifter sanction regime to dissuade prisoners from taking drugs; and for every prisoner to have access to effective, abstinence-based treatment to help them recover from drug addiction.

The report was covered in The Times and the BBC. It also featured prominently on the Today Programme and BBC Breakfast.

It was also covered on BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC 1 London, BBC News 24 as well as local BBC TV channels and Radio Stations. CSJ Fellow Jonathan Aitken wrote a blog in The Spectator while Deputy Policy Director Ed Boyd wrote for Conservative Home and researcher Louis McMahon wrote a blog for the CSJ.

Share more profit with your workers, CSJ tells big business

Big businesses should be encouraged to use their profits to increase workers’ wages towards the Living Wage and ease the burden on the taxpayer according to a new CSJ report.

The report, Tackling Low Pay, says that with rising economic prosperity workers should be able to share in more of their company’s successes.  It also explains how some businesses are taking advantage of the benefits system by resisting pay increases in the knowledge that the state will ‘top up’ the income of the low-paid using Tax Credits.

The report also calls for sizeable increases in the National Minimum Wage, after it lost a considerable amount of value during the recession. Shortly after the report's release, an increase in the minimum wage was announced by the Government.

The report also says that Universal Credit, a CSJ recommendation, is an important tool in tackling low pay, helping part-time workers gain more hours of employment.

The report was covered in The Sun while author David Skelton also wrote in the New Statesman.

Sun columnist delivers second CSJ election breakfast briefing

The election could likely produce a Conservative majority, predicted Sun columnist Trevor Kavanagh at the latest CSJ pre-election breakfast briefing.

The breakfast briefings series is designed to allow a variety of respected political pundits to give their analysis of key political issues ahead of the election in May.

Kavanagh, who is also Associate Director of the Sun, said that under the current Government the UK economy is the envy of Europe, largely because of the ‘jobs miracle’ that has taken place in the last five years.

CSJ launches Sport for Social Good report

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Sajid Javid outlined his vision for UK sport at the CSJ’s launch of a new paper, Sport for Social Good.

The Sport Secretary welcomed the CSJ’s research on sport and social justice and said that it had informed much of his thinking.

He also welcomed the Sport for Social Good paper which outlined five recommendations for the Government, including a call for a comprehensive national strategy for sport to be used as a tool for social good.

The launch event also featured a speech by Michael de Giorgio, CEO of Greenhouse Sports, who chaired the Centre for Social Justice’s 2011 report on sport, More Than a Game.

The event was cited in The Telegraph.

CSJ to host book launch and pre-election debate

CSJ Director Christian Guy will host the launch of his new book on March 31st, as well as a pre-election debate featuring two pre-eminent political speakers who will argue on compassion in British politics.

The book, This is how we live, tells the life stories of 12 people living on the margins of British society. To write it Christian Guy travelled across the UK to spend time with people whose lives have been characterised by disadvantage, neglect and vulnerability.

The book launch will be followed by a debate between Labour Party Policy Coordinator Jon Cruddas, and Tim Montgomerie, columnist for The Times and co-founder of the CSJ.

They will debate on which party ‘will stand for the poorest after May 2015?’ and it will be chaired by presenter of Radio 4’s Today Programme, Sarah Montague.

For more information on the reception, please see the event invitation here. To attend the book launch and debate please RSVP to csjevents@centreforsocialjustice.org.uk.

CSJ contributes to Home Affairs Committee report on gangs

The Home Affairs Committee’s latest report on gangs and youth crime, released this week, contains several recommendations made by the CSJ.

Following the CSJ’s report on Girls and Gangs in March 2014 the Home Affairs Committee reviewed this area, and invited report author and CSJ Deputy Policy Director Edward Boyd to give evidence to the committee.

The Committee mirrored the CSJ report in recommending improved information sharing to better identify girls at risk of gang involvement and increased mentoring for gang-associated girls.

CSJ in the News

CSJ’s Samantha Callan was cited in the lead story on the front page of The Times about parents being forced to call the police to disciple their own children. She said that parents needed greater support, but that changing family structures has made child-rearing more difficult.

Samantha also appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live, LBC and other regional BBC radio stations.