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The new head of Northern Ireland Prison Service has called for reducing the amount of illicit drugs entering prisons

Date: (18 July 2012)    |    

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The new head of Northern Ireland Prison Service Director General Sue McAllister said the service needed to build up its intelligence about illegal substances through better relations between warders and inmates.
Prison Ombudsman Pauline McCabe wanted more to be done to tackle the problem of illicit drugs following the death of Aaron Hogg, 21, who was found dead in his Maghaberry Prison cell in May last year after taking a cocktail of drugs.
One solicitor even claimed the high security jail was flooded with narcotics.
Ms McAllister said with limited resources the prison services needed to be a bit shrewd enough about what the targets were.
There was a place for random testing and though it was a good deterrent equally better thing would be to probably get better at building a rich picture of intelligence trends through knowing what was going on in these jails so that areas for testing could be targeted.
The 51-year-old mother of two is the first woman to hold the most senior position in the Northern Ireland Prison Service.
She took up post at the beginning of this month and will be paid an annual salary of £100,000, replacing Colin McConnell, who left to become head of the Scottish Prison Service.
Mrs McAllister`s last posting was at Onley Prison in Northamptonshire and she has 25 years` experience in the prison service, including as a governor of a prison and a young offenders' centre.
She was part of a review team which produced a highly critical report on the Prison Service after Colin Bell died by suicide in Maghaberry in July 2008 while being monitored.