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Seizures Of Knives And Cannabis More Than Double At UK’s Worst Prisons
31 January 2019, 17:58 | Updated: 31 January 2019, 18:33
The number of knives confiscated at the UK’s worst prisons has more than doubled in a year, figures obtained by LBC show.
On the same day the Ministry of Justice released damning statistics revealing another rise in prison violence, LBC uncovered further data about the worrying state of the country’s prisons.
Inside the UK’s 10 worst prisons the number of knives confiscated more than doubled between 2016-17, while the amount of cannabis seized increase by 125%.
Seizures of the drug spice rose by 50% and seizures of mobile phones, which are illegal in prison, went up 36%, according to a Freedom of Information request.
The worst jails were identified last year by Prisons Minister Rory Stewart to receive special attention, in what he called the “10 Prisons Project”.
Responding to LBC, Mr Stewart said: "These figures demonstrate exactly why we have selected these 10 prisons for our ambitious project to reduce drugs and violence.
"And because I take this so seriously, I promise to resign if I have not brought these figures down by August 2019.
"I believe we can do it and I'm happy to be judged on results."
Between 2009/10 and 2014 the number of prison officer numbers reduced by 6,580.
The Government has since hired 3,205 more officers and increased funding, but spending last year was still 16% less than in 2009/10.
Labour’s shadow prisons minister said LBC’s figures were further proof that jails “continue to be in a state of emergency”.
Imran Khan said: “We need more experienced prison officers, we need retention of experience prison officers, we need more training for our current prison officers to have any chance of addressing this absolute emergency."