Corrections is reiterating that illegal activity will not be tolerated inside prison following the guilty plea in Christchurch District Court today from Dean Waka Nathan on drugs related charges.
The court was told that Nathan was organising drug runs from inside prison by using a banned cellphone.
“The Department has cellphone blocking or detecting technology enabled in all 20 prisons, including Christchurch Men’s Prison. Due to the extra security measures we have phased in to prisons over the past year, incidences like this should be a lot scarcer,” says Acting Southern Regional Manager Ian Bourke.
“We continue to fine-tune the technology to ensure total coverage across the site as well as upgrading the technology when needed to cover telecommunication network advances and modifications.”
Random searches are also regularly conducted to find any contraband that may have made its way into prison; this includes hunting out illicit cellphones and sim cards. Any banned object found is immediately confiscated.
“The Department works constantly to keep contraband out of our prisons. We have many security features designed to minimise contraband entering our prisons including single points of entry into prisons, x-ray scanners and our drug dog teams.
“Some prisoners spend a great deal of time attempting to subvert the Department’s security measures so they can smuggle and hide such things as cellphones into our prisons."
Mr Bourke explains the Department also has a telephone monitoring system in place that records all phone calls made in prisons except for specific exempt numbers including the Ombudsman and Prison Inspectorate.
“Since its installation telephone monitoring has led to charges against prisoners for such things as robberies, gang activity and illegal drug use.
“Telephone monitoring allows our Intelligence teams to randomly monitor calls and target prisoners who we believe to be engaged in illegal activity. If we record information of an illegal nature it is passed on to the Police.”
Notes to reporter:
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