Pubdate: Wed, 08 Jun 2016
Source: Guardian, The (UK)
Copyright: 2016 Guardian News and Media Limited
Author: Jon Collins


Everyone from the chief inspector of prisons to prisoners themselves 
is now expressing concerns about the impact that new psychoactive 
substances are having on prisoners, prison officers and the efficacy 
of the prison system (Prisoners reveal regular 'spice' habit has 
tripled, 1 June). Current approaches to addressing their use are not 
working, and the situation is getting worse.

HMP Forest Bank, however, is taking a fresh approach. Using the 
principles of restorative justice, it is encouraging those prisoners 
who are using spice and other so-called "legal highs" to face up to 
the impact of their behaviour on their fellow prisoners and on prison staff.

While it is early days, there are encouraging signs that this has an 
impact, as well as giving staff an outlet to explain the daily 
challenges they're facing. As part of a strategy that also includes 
security and prevention, as well as mentoring and support, this sort 
of innovative work is exactly what is required to deal with a growing problem.

Jon Collins Chief executive, Restorative Justice Council
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