During the election a key issue a number of residents raised with me was cracking down on drugs and weapons in prisons. This is an issue I know the Prime Minister as well as the Prison Service are keen to resolve.
Today they have taken a step in the right direction by confirming that 16 prisons which receive a high volume of prisoners will be installing innovative new x-ray machines. These machines produce instant images from inside the human body, revealing concealed contraband, weapons and mobile phones.
In addition to this work a new investment fund to boost security is being put in place to help fund new measures to tackle drugs and violence in our prisons. Other new measures will include phone blocking technology, digital forensics, baggage scanners and new metal detection equipment. We are investing £2.75 billion to transform our prisons, create 10,000 additional modern places and to step up security.
The prisons set to receive the brand new x-ray body scanning machines are HMP Exeter, Durham, Preston, Liverpool, Herwell, Lincoln, Bedford, Norwich, Chelmsford, Winchester, Elmley, Pentonville, Bristol, Cardiff, Wandsworth and Birmingham.
The images produced provide a level of detail inside the body which has never been available before.
I look forward to seeing the Ministry of Justice roll out more projects to not only make prisons safer but to tackle the most pressing maintenance issues to improve conditions in our prisons, do more to rehabilitate offenders to reduce instances of reoffending and to take steps to reduce self-harm behind bars.