13/12/2011 12:21 GMT

Drugs In Prisons: Crispin Blunt, Prisons Minister, Says Government Can't 'Hermetically Seal' Jails

The government is powerless to prevent drug use in jails, the prisons minister has said, saying that the institutions could not be "hermetically sealed" to keep out heroin.

Crispin Blunt made the comments while responding to Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson, who called for the government to review the number of drugs in prisons.

He said drug use had dramatically declined over the past 15 years, but admitted: "Prisons cannot be hermetically sealed and you did draw attention to the number of different routes to smuggle drugs.

"But of course we examine all of those routes into prison and act to interdict and address all of them with the resources we have available, including new technology."

Swinson said supply routes should be examined, adding: "The fact that any prisoners are first trying heroin when they are actually in prison is shocking. The very concept of drug-free wings shows just how bad the situation has become."

It's not the first time justice minister Blunt has gaffed. In September he suggested imperfectly shaped fruits could cause riots in prisons.