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More Drugs Seized

7 July 2006

More Drugs Seized

Better detection has resulted in a forty five percent increase in the amount of drugs and drug-related utensils confiscated in prisons the last three years.

“In 2003, we confiscated 1962 items, last year we got 2854. The increase is testament that the hard-work in improving security at our 19 prisons is paying off,” says General Manager Public Prisons Service Harry Hawthorn.
Not only this, but the proportion of drugs reaching prisoners is decreasing says Mr Hawthorn.

“Tougher contraband detection measures have seen the amount of drugs and drug-related utensils confiscated on the way into prisons double.

“Instead of playing catch-up we are now intercepting more drug related contraband from visitors than from cells.”

In 2005, 1,465 drug or drug related items were confiscated before they reached prisoners and 1,389 items were confiscated from prisoners or cells. In 2003, 806 items were confiscated from visitors, visit rooms, worksites, ‘throw over’ areas, or mail and 1156 items from prisoners or cells. Total prison drug confiscations increased from 2436 in 2004 to 2854 in 2005.

“It is definitely progress. We are seizing more drugs across the board and prisoners are getting less. For the first time ever the proportion of drugs getting into prisons is decreasing,” says Mr Hawthorn.

“Proof our efforts are paying off can be seen in prisoner drug tests,” says Mr Hawthorn. “The figures show fewer prisoners are using drugs. In the nine months to March 2006, 15.6 percent of prisoners tested under the general random programme returned positive results, down from 17.4 percent in the preceding year.

“While we are constantly looking at ways to reduce drugs in prisons we have to remember we are often confronted by prisoners who are determined to use drugs, and their associates who are determined to supply them with these.”

The increase in confiscated drugs has resulted from improved security and detection measures explains Mr Hawthorn.

“The last four years has seen new security fences, electronic security devices, including cameras, fence motion detectors, pulsed infra red detection devices, closed circuit TV, video motion detectors, microwave sensors and security management systems installed at prisons nation-wide.

“There has been increased surveillance at checkpoints and within prisons using drug dogs, television monitoring in visitor areas, scanning equipment and random searches.

“The number of drug-dog teams has doubled since 2004 and last year the Government allocated a further $4.1 million over four years for crime and drug detection within prisons.

“While we would all like the amount to be lower it is encouraging to know our efforts are seeing fewer drugs get into prisons. Corrections will continue reviewing and improving prison security to see this trend continue.”


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