Security & Prisons

Security & Prisons

Controlling banned substances within a disciplined environment can be a challenge, and we understand that you may want to identify and prove the presence of illicit substances and alcohol use.


The misuse of drugs in prison is one of the biggest challenges facing the criminal justice system. Drug misuse is prevalent and contributes to violence, crime and vulnerability within prisons, which threatens the safety and the ability of prison staff to deliver effective regimes.

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Drug & alcohol screening can act as a considerable deterrent to substance misuse.

The authority to require prisoners to provide a sample for drug testing was established under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. While mandatory drug testing (MDT) alone cannot completely address the issue of drugs within prisons, it can play a role in the broader objective of mitigating drug misuse when integrated into a comprehensive drug strategy.

MDT can be employed in various scenarios, such as upon reasonable suspicion of drug misuse, as part of a random testing program, or preceding certain risk-related activities like temporary release. A robust MDT program can serve as a significant deterrent to drug misuse, effectively reducing the availability of drugs.

SureScreen Diagnostics offers a range of products designed to test for multiple drug matrices and alcohol, supporting the implementation of a comprehensive drug and alcohol testing program.

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Drug testing approaches in prisons

The identification of drug use and detection of individuals facing substance misuse issues are reinforced through an efficient drug testing system. In cases where prisoners test positive, they may face sanctions while also receiving support to access treatment. Consequently, testing plays a crucial role in motivating prisoners to maintain a drug-free lifestyle and aiding them in sustaining it. Moreover, the testing process serves to monitor patterns of drug use within the prison, guide activities aimed at reducing drug prevalence, and contributes valuable intelligence on drug supply and usage. The outcomes of these tests contribute to the formulation of drug treatment policies, providing governors and healthcare providers with insights to better comprehend the needs of their incarcerated population.

Various drug testing approaches are employed in prisons. Prisoners may undergo monthly random Mandatory Drug Testing (MDT) or Suspicion-Based Drug Testing. Alternatively, they can choose to participate in Compact-Based Drug Testing voluntarily to demonstrate their drug-free status. Clinical testing may also be utilised for healthcare purposes.

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