Pubdate: Fri, 15 Feb 2008
Source: Liverpool Echo (UK)
Copyright: 2008 Trinity Mirror North West & North Wales Limited
Bookmark: (Cannabis - United Kingdom)
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


PRISONS minister David Hanson is to investigate how a prisoner from 
Liverpool was photographed chatting on a mobile phone and apparently 
smoking cannabis.

Speaking exclusively to the ECHO he said he would examine the 
background to the shocking picture of drug offender Sam Walker.

Despite being sentenced to two-and-a-half years behind bars the 
24-year-old had the images posted on social networking site 
Flirtomatic under the name Liverpool Lad Locked Up.

Other images showed bare-chested convicts flexing their muscles and 
posing in a corridor.

The minister said: "It's not acceptable for Mr Walker to be using 
drugs and a mobile phone in a prison, and readers of the ECHO can be 
assured we will be examining the background to this photograph very closely.

"Having seen the story I will be looking into this case, and I view 
it as a matter of the utmost seriousness.

"It's a difficult issue but we have announced new steps in the House 
of Commons to target people who attempt to smuggle drugs or mobile 
phones into prisons. These are often relatives and sadly, sometimes staff.

"We are working with local forces like Merseyside police to undertake 
surveillance of those visiting prisons.

"Steps being taken include new body scanners and mandatory drug tests.

"People should understand that we prosecute those who take these 
items into prisons."

The Prison Service says the pictures were not taken in a Liverpool 
prison, but refused to name the jail involved.

It is believed the images of Walker were taken on a smuggled phone 
then texted to an associate on the outside who posted them on the website.

Prisoners are not allowed internet access and, depending on their 
prison service order, must seek approval before applying to join a 
penpal website.

If found guilty Walker would face an adjudication hearing and further 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake