PRISON authorities says they’ve confiscated 11,000 contraband items — including thousands of cigarettes — as well as edged weapons, syringes and a huge stash of home brew.
Latest data from Corrections Victoria shows 60 per cent of the seized items from inmates and visitors between July 2015 and March 2016 were smoking-related, namely: tobacco, improvised cigarettes, matches and lighters.
Also included in the haul was 450 litres of home brew.
The zero tolerance attitude toward contraband items, particularly cigarettes, has been strictly enforced by Corrections staff since smoking bans were implemented across all Victorian prisons from July 1 of last year.
Minister for Corrections Steve Herbert said nobody would get away with smuggling banned substances into Victorian prisons.
“The message is clear, if prisoners have contraband in the prison — we will find it,” he said.
“If visitors try and bring contraband into a prison — we will find it.”
“Since last July, this crackdown has extended to tobacco and all other smoking-related items, so prisoners and prison staff can live and work in a healthy, smoke-free environment.
“Corrections Victoria staff and their detection dogs do a fantastic job in seizing thousands of contraband items every year, which ensures our prisons are safe for staff, visitors and prisoners.”
The specialist Security and Emergency Services Group (SESG) unit — working with a large contingent of specially trained tobacco detection dogs — have also conducted thousands of searches, intercepting items such as drugs, alcohol and weapons.
Prisoners found with contraband face tough management measures, while visitors caught red-handed are refused entry to prisons and are only allowed non-contact visits.
Serious breaches are referred immediately to Victoria Police.