Mr Bigs to be sent to high-security jails in bid to crack down on prison crime

Posted On: 
6th March 2018

Crime kingpins could be made to serve their sentences in high-security jails to prevent them masterminding illegal activity from behind bars, it has emerged.

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Justice Secretary David Gauke will announce the move in a major speech setting out his vision for English prisons.

He will announce that £14 million is being spent to identify and prosecute organised criminal gangs operating in jails.

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Among the measures could be re-categorising crime kingpins so they do not serve their sentences in mainstream prisons.

Instead, they would be sent to maximum security prisons, regardless of the length of their sentences or the likelihood of them trying to escape.

"The criminal networks and supply chains have got larger and more complex," he will say. "And new technologies have empowered gangs to be more sophisticated and brazen about the way drugs are smuggled in.

"From the conventional to the cunning, by design or device, through fear or intimidation, these criminal gangs will stop at nothing to maintain their access to such a lucrative market.”

"[We will] remove their influence from our prisons so they can become places of hope not despair, of aspiration not assaults, because my approach is a practical one, based on what works and what’s right."

Mr Gauke will say that crime gangs are using drones to fly drugs into jail cells, while children's paintings are being laced with drugs as a way of smuggling them behind bars.

The minister will say: "We are taking action to bolster our defences at the prison gate and going after the organised criminal gangs.

"I want them to know that as a result of the action we are taking, they have no place to hide. Through our covert and intelligence-led operations, we will track them down."