Page last updated at 11:34 GMT, Friday, 22 January 2010

Inmate-alcohol crime link rises

CCTV footage of fight in Aberdeen
Half of all inmates admitted being drunk at the time of their offence

Half of all inmates in Scotland's prisons said they were drunk at the time of their offence, a survey by the Scottish Prison Service has revealed.

This has risen from four in 10 when the same question was asked in 2005.

The survey reported a decline in the numbers who had ever used illegal drugs in prison, down from 58% in 2001 to 45% last year.

The confidential questionnaire focused on prison life, living conditions, family contact and healthcare.

The SPS said 62% of inmates responded to the questionnaire.

Other findings included 43% of respondents admitting to having an eye-opener drink first thing in the morning, up from 31% in 2005.

Some 42% of prisoners thought they needed to cut down on their alcohol intake, while 37% said they felt guilty about their drinking, a rise from 29% in 2005.

Inmates who admitted illegal drug use during the last month of their sentence fell from 38% in 2001 to 22% in 2009.

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