It has been a busy week at Christchurch Men’s Prison with three significant drug finds made by staff.
The first was a visitor to the Prison found to be concealing a bottle of methadone and 2 valium tablets. On arrival, the visitor passed through the Prison’s metal detectors which were being supervised by staff, including the Prison’s drug dog and handler. While going through the detector the visitor was asked by staff if she was carrying contraband and she handed over the package.
“These drugs were no doubt intended for a prisoner and I am exceptionally happy that staff were able to stop these getting into the Prison. Despite the fact the visitor willingly handed over the drugs when asked, she was subsequently arrested by Police. Behaviour like this will not be tolerated and I hope this acts as a deterrent to other visitors considering bringing in contraband,” says Acting Prison Manager Trevor Saunders.
The second find this week was made during a routine perimeter check of the Prison. Staff observed a package in one of the unit’s guttering and, once recovered, found it was a tennis ball containing around 21 grams of cannabis and 4 Ritalin tablets.
“It is obvious someone has thrown this into the prison intended for prisoner use. What some people don’t seem to realise is that we routinely search for these types of ‘throw ins’ and are vigilant in our searches, including guttering. It seems the old drugs in the tennis ball is quite popular at the moment with a few attempts at this over the last few months. Finds like this are usually handed over to Police who may choose to investigate and lay criminal charges.”
The third, and most significant find this week was a prisoner found to be internally concealing cannabis and suspected heroin. Staff saw the prisoner being handed a package during a visit on 28 February. Due to this suspicious behaviour the prisoner was subsequently kept in a dry cell.
A dry cell does not have a toilet or wash basin. It is simply an empty cell with an area to put a mattress. Those who are suspected of concealing contraband are placed in here to wait out the appearance of further evidence. The dry cell is used approximately once a month and the average stay for a prisoner suspected of concealing is three to five days.
“During his time in the dry cell the prisoner was determined not to pass any contraband. But it is only a matter of time before nature takes it course in these types of situations. Once this happened the prisoner was found to be concealing in total around 33 grams of cannabis and around 3 grams of white powder, suspected to be heroin.
“During his stay in the cell the prisoner even tried to fool staff into thinking he was concealing less by placing a small amount of the cannabis on the floor. He obviously thought staff would think this was the entire amount and let him out of the cell. This was not the case and after some more days the entire find was revealed so to speak.”
The Police were notified and charges are pending.
“Overall these three finds mean we are doing our job at stopping visitors bringing drugs in and prisoners being able to consume them. I am extremely proud of the efforts of my staff in being vigilant in identifying suspicious behaviour and then acting on it, their work in stopping contraband coming in should be commended.
“We are absolutely committed to stopping contraband entering the prison and we have a number of measures in place to stop drugs and other contraband entering the Prison including visitor searches, vehicle checkpoints, the use of drug detector dogs and we also randomly monitor prisoner phone calls.”
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