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‘Daily drug-testing and forced labour in prison’


FORMERMaidstoneMPAnnWid- decombe says prisoners in Britain’s drug-riddled jails should be made to work all week and be subject to daily drug-testing. The former shadow prisons min-


ister said if her suggestion for a regime of compulsory weekday labourwas adopted in the late 1990s prisons “might be presenting a rather different picture” today. Earlier this year, Downs Mail re-


vealed how Maidstone Prison was harbouring a worrying drug prob- lem, where vulnerable inmateswere used to test smuggled “legal highs” to see if theywere safe. The use of drones to deliver drugs


was also noted in an independent monitor’s report. Miss Widdecombe says idleness


takes up too much of the day and is behind the recent outbreak of disor- der in some jails in theUKaswell as the continued threat of industrial ac- tion by prison officers. She argues that education and re- habilitation can go a long way to preventing reoffending, ultimately saving the tax-payer money.


In an article for a daily newspaper,


MsWiddecombe said: “Rehabilita- tion is prisons is not…a manifesta- tion of a soft, wet, ultra-liberal approach…if themanwholeave the prison gates is no better prepared to live a law-abiding life.” She adds: “A prisoner found with


drugs in his or her system should automatically lose remission rather than just privileges, but they have to believe they’ll be caught and that means vastly expanding the pro- grammes of random testing and, if necessary, testing every day.”


Former Maidstone MP Ann


Widdecombe and left, Maidstone Prison


Ukip councillor Eddie Powell


agreed with MissWiddecombe’s as- sessment and called for a far tougher regime in prisons. Cllr Powell added: “We need to


hire another 10,000 prison officers. “We need to be tougher on drugs.


I’d like to see single cells for prison- ers and a regime of work and activi- ties, aswell as education. “You hear stories of people with mobile phones, Facebook accounts and computer games. That can’t be right. Prison should mean prison and the sentence served in full.”


News Needle naer


TWELVE ladies enjoyed a range of craftwork at the first Needles and Natter session at the Hunton Vil- lage Club. Some knitted, one made friend-


ship bracelets for Brownies, one quilted, one discussed the bestway to manage paper patterns in differ- ing sizes and two learned the first steps in crochet. Another member decided to take


a slightly different appraoch by sketching a picture of the others at work. Anyone who would like to join in a craft pastime iswelcome to join the group. Members of the Needles and


Natter group meet at the Hunton Village Club at 8pm on the third Friday of the month.


Festive supper FESTIVE flavours were to be sam- pled at a wine tasting and supper called Christmas in Eight Bottles at Hunton Village Club on Saturday, November 26.


CCTV scheme A CCTV camera has been installed at Marden Playing Field. The parish council has decided to


use a mobile camera to monitor any potential antisocial behaviour in the area around the changing rooms and playing spaces.


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