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More 'P' being found in prisons

Simon Power National Party Law & Order Spokesman

22 March 2006

More 'P' being found in prisons

Little headway is being made in the fight to stop the smuggling of illegal drugs into prisons, if latest figures are anything to go by, says National's Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power.

He is commenting on answers from Corrections Minister Damien O'Connor on the number of cases of methamphetamine use and possession in prisons.

The answers show a steady increase in the number of finds of amphetamine-type drugs, from 21 in 2003 to 25 in 2005. But, more concerning, they also show a steep climb in the number of prisoners testing positive for methamphetamine, from five in 1999/00 to 66 in 2004/05.

"Clearly, a lot of drugs are getting through the surveillance systems. And these figures will represent just the tip of the iceberg.

"The Ombudsmen are concerned at what is happening, and so should the Minister and his department."

The Ombudsmen's report into prisons, published in December last year, says: 'Unlawful drug use was stated to be an immense problem in New Zealand prisons by all persons to whom we spoke about the matter,' and that 'The fact remains that unlawful drug use in prisons is a huge problem.'

"Methamphetamine is responsible for some awful crimes outside our prisons and now it is clearly in regular use inside them, playing havoc with attempts at rehabilitation," says Mr Power.

"With the prison population growing rapidly, the impact will get worse unless we can put a stop to it.

"Damien O'Connor must give the public his full assurance that everything possible is being done to halt the trail of this appalling drug into our prisons."

*********

Subject: 00983 (2006) Published - Corrections -

Question: How many cases of methamphetamine use have been discovered by the Department in the past five years; listed by year?

Portfolio: Corrections Minister: Hon Damien O'Connor
Date Lodged:23/02/2006

Answer Text: In the past five years there have been 231 cases of methamphetamine use discovered by the Department through its programme of prisoner urine testing. In 1999/2000 there were 5 positive tests for methamphetamine use. In 2000/01 there were 25 positive tests for methamphetamine use. In 2000/01 there were 34 positive tests. In 2002/03 there were 39 positive tests. In 2003/04 there were 62 positive tests and in 2004/05 there were 66 positive tests.

Attachment: None

Date Received:17/03/2006

Subject: 00984 (2006) Published - Question: How many cases of methamphetamine possession has been discovered by the Department in the past five years; listed by year?
Portfolio: Corrections Minister: Hon Damien O'Connor

Date Lodged:23/02/2006

Answer Text: To answer this question information from incident and search reports has been reviewed. The Member should note that department staff are not qualified to determine whether a substance is methamphetamine, as opposed to other illicit substances. In 2003 there were 21 finds of amphetamine type drugs, in 2004 there were 24 and in 2005 there were 25 finds.

Attachment: None
Date Received:17/03/2006

ENDS

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