Drug busts soar as inmates allowed phones

Drug busts soar as inmates allowed phones
Staff at a correctional services psychiatric facility in Växsjö are grappling with a surge in narcotics after inmates gained the right to use mobile phones.

Sveriges Radio (SR) reported on Wednesday that staff at the facility in southern Sweden have found drugs thirteen times since lifting the mobile phone ban this spring. Last year, only one drug find was reported.

Unit head Anita Åkesson said the mobiles allow inmates to order drugs from outside, which are then smuggled into the facility. She is not alone in facing the conundrum, with managers at correctinal service psychiatric units across the country reporting a surge in drug busts.

Anders Printz, national psychiatric coordinator at the Social Ministry, told SR that Social Affairs Minister Göran Hägglund is keen to properly look into the effects of the Swedish justice system allowing inmates access to mobile phones.

“There is a proposal to continue making decisions on an individual basis,” Printz said. “But there should be a third criterium regarding order and safety in granting access to mobile phones.”

Until now, inmates have been denied the right to use a mobile phone only if they were deemed likely to use it to commit a crime or hurt others.

TT/The Local/at

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