A police boss would be the last person you expected to suggest this, but stranger things have happened.

He recommends that prisoners be given drugs.

The Welsh police and crime commissioner says prisoners should be given cannabis to help deal with addiction and tackle violence.

Arfon Jones is standing down from his role overseeing North Wales Police in May.

He says there should be a trial scheme put in place, to see if his idea works. He’s keen to see if it helps to reduce addiction and violence in prisons.

As wild as it sounds, there may well be science to back up his idea. A recent report by Swansea University’s Global Drug Policy Observatory supports his claims so far.

Researches there found that 13 per cent of men in UK prisons “reported that they had developed a problem with illicit drugs” while inside.

In Cardiff, prison inspectors said 52 per cent of prisoners claim it’s easy to get illegal drugs, according to the report.

There are also concerns surrounding prescription painkillers being given to prisoners, including opioid-based drugs. They can be highly addictive and dangerous if not controlled properly.

Jones said: “If they are on opioids, why can’t they be prescribed cannabis?”

“Opioids are a damn sight more dangerous than cannabis. Let’s supply cannabis in controlled conditions and see if offences reduce.”

Criticism

Jones has been a long time campaigner around drugs issues.

Not only is he recommending cannabis, he has also previously supported calls for a heroin injection scheme for addicts.

Candidates hoping to replace him as PCC in May’s election have criticised his idea, repeating that it is illegal.

Tory PCC candidate for north Wales, Pat Astbury said to BBC News: “There may be other ways to treat prisoners, using alternative medicines which are legal and mimic illegal drugs.

“One can’t be seen to break the law at the expense of the force you are representing.”

Meanwhile, Labour’s Andy Dunbobbin says: “There are lots of ways to prevent problematic drug use but this isn’t one of them – prevention and treatment programmes in and out of prison should be strengthened and I’ll work with partners, if elected, to do so.”

However, other officials do not agree with Jones, and were keen to stress that his opinions do not reflect that of the organisation as a whole.

A Prison Service official said it has a “zero-tolerance approach” to drugs.

There’s a risk of mixed messages for many.

Controversial Drug Use

This is not the first controversial suggestion regarding drugs. It was recently discovered that MDMA could be used to treat alcoholism.

Imperial College London scientists led the trial.

Researchers gave 14 alcohol addicts controlled doses of the dance drug, also known as ecstasy, during two psychotherapy sessions.

It was found that 9  months after the trial, only 21 per cent who underwent the MDMA therapy still consumed more than 14 units of alcohol per week. That compares to 75 per cent in people who had received normal NHS care.

Image via Alamy