SCOTLAND - The number of weapons confiscated in Scottish prisons has almost doubled in the space of a year, figures show. There has also been a 15% rise in seizures of suspected drugs, according to Scottish Prison Service figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats. There were 323 weapons confiscated in prisons in 2013, up 85% on the 175 confiscated in 2012.
There were 833 suspected drug seizures, up from 725 in 2012, while alcohol seizures have remained steady at 81. Seizures of mobile phones dropped from 347 to 301. A total of 1,538 articles of contraband were confiscated last year, up from 1,328 in 2012.
Lib Dem justice spokeswoman Alison McInnes 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."
The Herald of Scotland/Oct. 19, 2014