Source: Sunday Times (UK)
Contact:  Sun, 9 Aug 1998
Author: Marcello Mega


A MEMBER of staff at top security Shotts prison has been suspended amid
allegations that he administered drugs, including the heroin substitute
methadone, from the jail's pharmacy to prisoners without authority.

Sources at the jail have claimed they understand that "thousands of pounds
worth of drugs" cannot be properly accounted for and that senior staff were
warned about the suspended man's alleged conduct by his colleagues six
months before action was taken.

Bill McKinlay, the governor of Shotts, denied both claims.

One prison officer said: "Staff saw this man using drugs from the pharmacy
himself and handing them out to selected prisoners. Senior managers were
told of the need for greater supervision. Staff wanted to see a pharmacist
employed to regulate drug use by dependent prisoners, but no action was

"About four weeks ago, a security supervisor saw the guy allowing a
prisoner to swig a large quantity of methadone from a bottle in the
pharmacy. This was reported and action was finally taken."

McKinlay confirmed that a member of staff had been suspended and that
allegations against him were still being investigated. He said the case
could be handled internally. He did not intend to tell the police. He said
he personally took responsibility for the monthly audits on the prison's
drug stocks. "The audits have not shown anything significant missing,"
McKinlay said.

A spokesman for the Scottish Prison Service said a member of staff had been
suspended for administering drugs to a prisoner and that there was a
discrepancy in the jail's drug supplies, but she believed it had been blown
out of proportion by prison staff.

The suspended man was due at the prison for an appeal hearing last week but
was involved in a minor car accident. The hearing is to be rescheduled.

The suspended man's boss, who prison staff claim was made aware of serious
allegations some time ago, has been on sick leave for a week.

Shotts, like most prisons, has significant problems with drug use and staff
believe they are more acute than any other Scottish prison. Staff sources
claimed earlier this year that in two halls drug abuse was common among
about 85% of prisoners. They also claimed that the results of the random
mandatory tests conducted in prisons were being manipulated to suggest that
advances were being made in tackling the problem, and that Shotts staff had
been warned to turn a blind eye to drug dealing for fear of provoking a

Shotts, once hailed as Scotland's flagship prison, has been at the centre
of a number of controversies in the past year with its staff among the most
disgruntled in the SPS. As well as their concerns about high levels of drug
abuse, prison officers have been angered by the fact that Robert Mone, an A
category prisoner and a notorious killer, has been given a trustee's job
allowing him greater freedom than most prisoners who were considered to be
less dangerous.

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Checked-by: (Joel W. Johnson)