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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 September 2006, 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK
Inmates may get drug-taking kits
Craiginches Prison
Craiginches is said to house many drug-taking inmates
Aberdeen's Craiginches prison could soon pilot the UK's first needle exchange scheme for jails.

The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) is considering introducing the programme early next year in a bid to prevent the spread of disease.

Drug taking among prisoners can spread diseases such as Hepatitis C and HIV.

As well as exchanges, kits could include swabs, filters and a sharps disposal box. Similar schemes already operate in many other countries.

We should be helping prisoners get off drugs, rather than help them take them
Annabel Goldie
Scottish Conservative leader

An SPS spokesman said: "If you look at prisoner surveys some say they have shared needles in prison.

"There will always be people who continue to take drugs in prison.

'Damage limitation'

"If you're not going to change that behaviour and have people who are going to do this, we have a responsibility to them and to make sure that our staff are safe.

"Aberdeen prison does have a high proportion of people on drugs coming into the prison."

Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie MSP said a "radical overhaul" of rehabilitation structures in jails was needed.

She said: "We should be helping prisoners get off drugs, rather than help them take them.

"This measure does rather suggest that a damage limitation exercise is being deployed, rather than any real drive to get drugs out of our prisons."


SEE ALSO
Minister pledges drugs crackdown
12 Oct 04 |  Scotland
Jail inspectors find overcrowding
17 Nov 04 |  Scotland

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