Mandatory drug testing in prison
Produced in partnership with Simon Creighton of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors
Mandatory drug testing in prison

The following Corporate Crime practice note Produced in partnership with Simon Creighton of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Mandatory drug testing in prison
  • Mandatory drugs testing—when and why?
  • Is the selection for testing lawful?
  • Can a prisoner refuse to be tested?
  • MDT procedure
  • How often can a prisoner be tested?
  • Prison disciplinary hearings
  • Appealing a finding of guilt

Mandatory drugs testing—when and why?

Mandatory drug testing (MDT) was introduced in 1995 through an amendment to the Prison Act 1952 (PA 1952). It is an offence against prison discipline to:

  1. administer a controlled drug

  2. fail to prevent the administration of a controlled drug

There are three statutory defences to these offences:

  1. the controlled drug was lawfully in the prisoner's possession or was administered lawfully, ie it was a prescription or given in medical treatment

  2. the controlled drug was administered without the prisoner’s knowledge and the prisoner had no reason to suspect it was being administered

  3. the drug was administered without consent or under duress where it was unreasonable to resist

PA 1952, s 16A states that, where an authorisation issued by the Governor is in force, any officer may require any prisoner to provide a urine sample to ascertain if they have any drugs in their body. This testing should be carried out in accordance with prison rules and a copy of the signed authorisation of the Governor should be displayed in the MDT suite and a copy kept in the library (see Prison Service Order (PSO) 3601).

The definition of drug for the purposes of PA 1952, s 16A includes a drug which is a controlled drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 or a ‘specified drug’ which is any substance or product specified

Popular documents