The number of prison staff caught smuggling contraband items into jails in England and Wales has increased 58% since 2012, it has been reported.
More than 340 people have faced either disciplinary or judicial proceedings for bringing drugs, mobile phones or other banned items into prisons in the last six years, according to The Observer.
The paper’s data, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act from the Ministry of Justice, showed that the year with the highest number of staff caught was 2017, where the figure stood at 71.
This compares to 45 in 2012.
Centre for Social Justice director Andy Cook told The Observer the figures were “deeply concerning” and said ministers needed to “get a grip”.
He added: “Drugs are at the heart of this, fuelling violence, suicide and completely undermining the likelihood that prisoners will be able to turn their lives around.”
Drugs were found 35 times a day in prisons in England and Wales on average last year, while the number of finds has trebled since 2014, the paper said.