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Prisons: Drugs

Volume 460: debated on Wednesday 23 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many mandatory drug tests were carried out in each prison establishment in Northern Ireland in each of the last six years; and in how many of those tests results were (a) positive, (b) negative and (c) inconclusive for the presence of banned substances. (136823)

The Northern Ireland Prison Service does not have a full programme of mandatory drug testing, although it is planned to change prison rules to enable this. However, there is currently extensive drug testing of prisoners on a voluntary basis, particularly as part of the progressive regime and earned privileges scheme, and also in relation to home leaves.

Results of voluntary drug tests are only available for the last five years and are set out in the following table. Tests are diagnosed either positive or negative.

Number of tests

Number of positive

Number of negative

2002

Maghaberry

853

84

633

Magilligan

726

8]

623

Hvdebank

1,280

124

1,156

2003

Maghaberry

310

64

186

Magilligan

690

103

166

Hydebank

2,040

166

1,874

2004

Maghaberry

821

251

566

Magilligan

1,344

130

1,204

Hydebank

2,680

225

2,453

2005

Maghaberry

1,175

383

757

Magilligan

1,344

163

976

Hydebank

2,603

704

2,073

2006

Maghaberry

1,510

419

962

Magilligan

1,381

139

1,053

Hydebank

1,678

134

1,544

Note:

At the end of each year there are always a number of test results outstanding.