A search operation set up at Spring Hill Corrections Facility over the weekend to catch out visitors with contraband in their vehicles turned up almost nothing, says Prison Manager Gavin Dalziel, but that doesn’t mean staff will stop searching.
“Staff searched 173 vehicles and 332 visitors to the prison over Saturday and Sunday. This is a large numbers of visitors, but it isn’t unusual,” says Mr Dalziel.
“Every person entering the facility already has their possessions put through an x-ray machine and goes through a metal detector – much the same as at an airport. Vehicle searches build on this, and make the prison borders even more secure.
“Medicine and tools such as knives and screwdrivers could be dangerous, or even deadly, if they fell into the hands of the wrong prisoners, hence we don’t allow them onto the site. Cameras are also contraband. These are things we really want people removing from their vehicles before they come visiting – otherwise their owners run the risk of their possessions being confiscated and receiving a formal warning.
“Over the two days we warned 28 visitors, and issued an exclusion notice to one. The warnings were all for items such as cameras, knives, SIM cards, tools, medicine and alcohol which was tipped out. In most cases the found items had a legitimate reason for being in the vehicle, and we don’t suspect there were any attempts to smuggle items inside, but we have one rule for everyone,” says Mr Dalziel.
The exclusion notice was issued to the owner of a vehicle who had items in her car that smelt strongly of cannabis. It meant her visit with a family member in prison was not allowed to proceed.
“A great result such as this past weekend is pleasing – but we will continue to be vigilant. The message does seem to be getting through, anyone attempting to introduce contraband into the prison will be caught, and face being penalised by us, and possibly by the Police.”
Prison checkpoints are set up on the road leading into the facility, and are conducted regularly by every prison around the country to search anyone visiting the site and their vehicle.
“Obviously drugs and weapons making their way into the hands of prisoners are extremely dangerous for other prisoners, our staff and in rare cases, the public. This is unacceptable and the exact reason why we continue to be vigilant in our checkpoint searches and our general screening of visitors, contractors, and staff.”
For further information contact the Communications Services Desk (04) 460 3365
Copyright © Department of Corrections | Feedback and queries email: firstname.lastname@example.org