I consider the major challenges facing the prison service over the next 5 years, are preventing the introduction of drugs into prisons and managing prisoners with drug problems. Drug finds in prison doubled over the last 5 years, i.e. approximately 6 drugs finds per day in Scottish Prisons. 69% of the prison population report drug use compared to 8% in the community. Research has identified defined routes into prison. The main routes being visits, mail, prisoners on admission, over the wall, prison staff and concealed in clothing sent in. These routes are organised and concealed by individuals using illicit mobile phones, which are free from monitoring and provide real time direction. The prison service has the difficult task of allowing prisoners’ access to their families in decent humane surroundings, whilst at the same time preventing the introduction of drugs into the prison. Some prisoners` apply pressure on their friends and family to introduce drugs at visits; this may be done reluctantly and has serious consequences for the drug mule if he or she is caught. Basic tools such as observation, intelligence, CCTV out with the visit area and x-ray equipment can disrupt this practice, however, is not wholly effective. Items concealed in mail and include clothing sent in through the postal service, are well known to prison staff who routinely x-ray all items. This practice is risky for the small amount of drugs that can be concealed in these items. The searching constraints on prisoners on reception from court who have drugs concealed in body orifices is a difficult practice to tackle and can involve sizeable amounts of drugs being brought in through this route. Packages thrown over prison walls during exercise periods have become a profitable route of introduction. Prison staffs are advised not to intervene during this highly populated and sensitive period, but to monitor and deal with the recipients after the event; this allows the package to be secreted before...
Links: and referral to Throughcare Addiction Services (TAS) will ensure continuity of treatment and care on release.
* Voluntary Testing Programmes provide support and incentives for drug users to remain drug free, resources should be allocated to continue the service.
With skilful co-ordinated intervention, the reduction in drugs being introduced into prison will result in an increase in drug users seeking intervention. The challenge is to constantly review and adapt strategies to block new routes of introduction and to offer alternatives and support to those who wish to remain drug free.
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