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Prisons: Visits

Justice written question – answered on 3rd May 2011.

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Photo of David Ruffley David Ruffley Conservative, Bury St Edmunds

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people visiting prisons were found to be in possession of illegal drugs in each year since 2007-08; how many such people were referred to the police; and what steps were taken in respect of those not referred to the police in each such case.

Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice) (Prisons and Probation)

Information on the number of visitors to prisons in England and Wales found in possession of illegal drugs is not recorded centrally. Information on the actions taken in respect of visitors not referred to police is now held at local level. To provide the information would require a detailed investigation into all local records and incur disproportionate cost. It is NOMS policy to refer all visitors found to be in possession of drugs, to the police.

The following table shows a breakdown by year of visitors arrested or apprehended who have been suspected of smuggling drugs into prisons in England and Wales.

2007-08 432
2008-09 472
2009-10 354
2010-11 282

These figures have been drawn from live administrative data systems which may be amended at any time. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system.

These figures may change should any further incidents relating to this period be identified and reported to NOMS.

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