Scottish Liberal Democrat Justice spokesperson Alison McInnes MSP today said new figures showing an increase in the number of drug and weapons confiscations in Scottish prisons underline the scale of the challenge facing prison service staff as they work to keep inmates safe.
Ms McInnes was speaking after new figures obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats showed an 85% rise in the number of weapons confiscated from inmates between 2012 and 2013.
Statistics revealed in Freedom of Information requests also showed a 15% increase in the number of drugs confiscations over the same period. In 2012, 1328 articles of contraband were confiscated from prisoners. In 2013 this increased to 1538 articles.
Commenting, Alison McInnes MSP said:
“The fact that more weapons and more drugs are being taken out of prisons is welcome. But there are serious questions over how these items found their way into cells in the first place.
“It is hard to see how inmates can commit themselves to rehabilitation programmes if they are living under the threat of violence. Similarly, it will be hugely challenging to help inmates overcome addiction if drugs and alcohol are freely available.
“These stark figures underline the scale of the challenge that our prison service staff are facing. The Justice Secretary needs to ensure that prison officers are getting all the support they need to help keep inmates safe as they serve their time.”