Source: Sunday Times (UK)
Author: Marcello Mega
Contact:  Sun, 22 Feb 1998


FIGURES showing the number of prisoners testing positive for drugs at
Shotts prison, one of Scotland's most secure jails, have been manipulated
to mask a growing crisis, staff members claim.

One prison officer said some prisoners were being selected for tests
supposedly conducted randomly. They included older prisoners who were known
not to be drug users.

Some had been tested half a dozen times in just a few months.

Shotts, with more than 500 prisoners, is believed to have one of the worst
drug abuse records of any Scots jail. Staff said random tests in A Hall
suggested up to 90% of prisoners there were abusing drugs. In B Hall, the
rate was 85%.

Prison officers said drug dealing was so widespread they had been told to
turn a blind eye for fear of provoking a riot. A routine cell search of the
two halls earlier this month uncovered 3,500 in cash.

A Scottish Prison Service spokesman , who discussed the claims with Bill
McKinlay, prison governor, dismissed them as "impossible". The lists of
prisoners to be tested each month were computer-generated from the
service's headquarters in Edinburgh, he said.

A Shotts source said: "Nobody from headquarters comes to check that the
people on the list are actually the ones tested. There is no doubt some
people who don't use drugs have been tested almost every month."

Prison officers have told The Sunday Times that one of the prison's most
notorious inmates, the sectarian killer Jason Campbell, was involved in a
drug-related incident in the visiting room a few days ago. Campbell is
serving life for the murder of a young Celtic supporter in Glasgow.

Security cameras picked out Campbell's visitor trying to pass him a small
parcel. When two officers approached their table, the visitor swallowed the
package. Witnesses said Campbell launched a tirade of abuse and threats.
But the two were allowed to conclude their visit.

The visitor was arrested by police. A source said: "Normally, someone
behaving like that would be hauled away and the visit ended, but Campbell
is one of the prisoners we've not to upset too much."

Two weeks ago an officer was stabbed in the arm while intervening in a
fight between prisoners. The knife had just been used to stab a prisoner
who was HIV-positive and carrying hepatitis C. The officer now anxiously
awaits the results of tests for infection.

Another factor affecting staff morale is the privileged treatment of Robert
Mone, a multiple killer and possibly the most dangerous man in any Scottish
jail. Mone, in D Hall, has a close relationship with a man serving eight
years for the culpable homicide of his baby, and has a trusted job which
allows him more freedom than most of his fellow inmates.

One officer said: "It's appeasement. I've seen him go from docile to
hyperventilating fury in seconds and the management just want to keep him

An SPS spokesman confirmed the incidents outlined by sources had occurred,
although he disputed the manipulation of drug tests.