Order Paper and questions

Questions for oral answer

6. Prisoners—Drug Use

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6. MIKE SABIN (National—Northland) to the Minister of Corrections: What reports has she received about the amount of drug use in prisons?

Hon ANNE TOLLEY (Minister of Corrections) : I am happy to advise the House that the number of prisoners testing positive for drugs has reached a record low. The latest figures show that only 4.3 percent of prisoners randomly tested for drugs returned a positive result. This compares with 13 percent in the 2008 year, and 34 percent in the 1997-98 year, when testing was introduced. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I ask members please to extend some courtesy to members at the back of the House. Mike Sabin has a big voice, but he cannot get through some of that noise.

Mike Sabin: What factors have led to the decline in drug use in prisons?

Hon ANNE TOLLEY: Since 2008 we have doubled the number of prisoners able to attend specialist drug treatment units, and introduced new laws that increased the search powers of corrections officers and provided new offences relating to contraband. Just last week, three more corrections drug dogs and their handlers graduated from the police dog training centre to help fight contraband in prisons, bringing the department’s team of drug-dog handlers working in New Zealand prisons to 15. This increase in capacity means more dogs to cover each region and should result in fewer drugs getting into prisons.