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Prison violence and gangs targeted by justice secretary

Prison violence and gangs targeted by justice secretary

Measures to clamp down on violence and the smuggling of drugs, phones and weapons in prisons are to be unveiled by Justice Secretary David Gauke.A unit to tackle serious and organised crime in jails in England and Wales is also being set up.A review of where prisoners are held could see those inmates who pose a risk of committing crime behind bars moved to higher-security jails.The National Crime Agency says one in 13 inmates have organised crime links.It estimates some of these 6,500 offenders continue to be involved in criminality behind bars, including controlling the supply of banned items like phones, and illegal items like drugs and weapons, which are blamed for fuelling instability.
The influence of criminal groups in prisons has come under the spotlight amid a rise in levels of violence.In his first major speech since being appointed Justice Secretary in January, Mr Gauke will promise to "remove the influence" of gangs so prisons can become "places of hope not despair".
'No place to hide'
Under current rules, inmates can be moved during their sentence if their categorisation changes.A proposal being examined by the government would see the risk of continuing criminality in prison taken into account.Offenders who pose a risk of crime in jail could be moved to prisons with more restrictive regimes. Many of these prisoners are currently held in lower-security prisons because they are serving short sentences and are not assessed as likely to escape. In his speech, Mr Gauke will say: "We are taking action to bolster our defences at the prison gate and going after the organised criminal gangs."I want them to know that as a result of the action we are taking, they have no place to hide."
David Gauke
UK prisons
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