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Prison drug stats show decline

The number of prisoners who tested positive for drugs has generally declined in the last five years.

Figures have been released by Home Affairs in response to a Tynwald question for written reply from Onchan MHK Zac Hall.

In 2007/08, 15 of 110 inmates randomly tested returned a positive result, which is a 13.6% failure rate.

That figure rose to 17.7% the following year, but has fallen since.

To date 108 random tests have been conducted in 2011/12, with 10 positive results, a failure rate of 9.26%.

Of those prisoners tested because they were suspected of being on drugs, target testing as it's known, nearly 55% failed in 2007/08.

That dropped significantly in 2008/09 to 25% and continued to fall for the next two years, to 20% and 12.5% respectively.

So far in 2011/12 the failure rate is 15%.

In a follow-up question for written answer, home affairs minister Juan Watterson said the increased security, passive and pro-active drugs dogs, CCTV, improved security intelligence and regular joint operations between the police and prison staff continued to act as a deterrent for people attempting to smuggle illegal drugs into the prison.

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