Scotland's newest jail already among worst for drug seizures

SCOTLAND'S newest jail already has one of the worst records for drugs seizures, new figures have revealed.

Addiewell prison in West Lothian, which opened just 12 months ago, has recorded 206 suspected drugs finds since the start of this year. Only Glasgow's Barlinnie jail and Edinburgh's Saughton prison had a higher total.

Today, one opposition politician said the failure to stop drugs getting into Addiewell was a missed opportunity to tackle the problem.

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The figures, revealed in an answer to a parliamentary question from Tory MSP John Lamont, showed suspected drugs finds at Scottish jails total 1,705 so far this year, including 225 at Saughton and 256 at Barlinnie.

Mr Lamont said that meant there was now an average of more than one find every five hours.

He said: "The figures show the problem of drugs in prison is even blighting our newest prison.

"One would have hoped a new prison would have systems in place better able to stop drugs coming in.

"It is disappointing the government has not taken the opportunity to implement one of our key policies, drug-free prisons or wings."

He said the policy would allow prisoners who want to come off drugs to be removed from the availability and the temptation.

"If they stay clean, they should be given privileges. If they test positive, then they are removed from the drugs-free wing and the privileges are withdrawn."

Addiewell, which can house up to 700 prisoners and is run by private firm Kalyx, opened last December amid criticism over the "luxury" facilities for inmates.

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Earlier this year, figures showed Addiewell had one of the worst levels of violence among Scotland's prisons. In February, up to 40 inmates took part in a riot.

A spokeswoman for Kalyx said systems were in place at Addiewell to try to prevent drugs getting into the jail.

But she added: "Drugs do get into prisons – that is a fact and when that happens we want to find them."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "Significant investment has already been made in the development of new technology to detect and deter the introduction of illegal drugs and other commodities in prison."