Survey shows 1 in 3 inmates still testing positive for drugs upon release

29 Jan 2018


Nearly a third of prisoners tested positive for illegal substances as they were preparing for release last year, analysis has shown.

The Scottish Prison Service said 30 per cent of those “tested on liberation tested positive for illegal drugs”, even though prisons are supposed to be secure environments free from illicit substances.

The organisation will present the findings to tomorrow’s Holyrood Health Committee, which is taking evidence on the Scottish Government’s drug strategy.

SPS bosses added that a survey, which is yet to be published, found 39 per cent of prisoners reported seeing illegal drug use in prison in 2017.

The same Addiction Prevalence Testing (APT), which is conducted across all Scottish prisons annually, stated that 76 per cent of inmates analysed tested positive for drugs on admission to jail.

Shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr said the findings would alarm the public, who expect prisons to be secure environments, and harm the prospects of rehabilitation and reducing reoffending.

Last year, it was reported that drugs deaths in Scotland have more than doubled in the space of a decade.

Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr said:

“Prisons are supposed to be absolutely secure environments, where nothing gets in or out that isn’t supposed to.

“So for drug use to be so rife in Scotland’s jails is alarming.

“People understand there will always be examples where smuggled items can slip through the net.

“But for one in three inmates to be testing positive on release is an incredible statistic.

“It raises real questions about how serious the SNP government is when it comes to keeping drugs out of jail.

“There is no hope of rehabilitating prisoners while illegal substances are circulating with such ease.”