Sharp eyed custodial staff at Mt Eden Prison who spotted suspicious prisoner activity in the exercise yards late last week have shut down a potential route for contraband to enter the site.
Staff supervising a group of prisoners in the exercise yard saw a prisoner acting suspiciously in the corner of the yard, and made a decision to observe his actions and ultimately uncover what he was up to.
“Custodial staff decided to observe the actions of this prisoner, and when he realised he was being watched, he jumped down from the perch he was on and walked off,” says Mt Eden/ACRP Prison Manager Grace Smit.
“Staff kept an eye on the spot, and soon saw another prisoner approach the area. Staff went and challenged him, and discovered that the two prisoners had been tampering with the edge of the metal that covers the exercise yard. It appears that these prisoners were attempting to create a small gap through which contraband thrown towards the yards could be retrieved.
“The yards of Mt Eden Prison sit directly under the northern motorway off-ramp, and in the past staff have seen everything from P to KFC thrown off the bridge towards the yards,” says Ms Smit.
“The antiquated nature of Mt Eden Prison presents a constant challenge to staff, and I have no doubt that it contributed to this event.
“I am very impressed with the quick action and initiative of the staff involved, who allowed this activity to continue just long enough to get to the bottom of things. Thanks to them, a potential route for contraband to enter the prison has been closed.
“While there was no threat to public safety, I view any attempt to get contraband into prison as a threat to the safety and security of the site. Such behaviour will not be tolerated. I have temporarily closed the yard for repairs, and the prisoners involved in the incident have been charged under the prison’s internal disciplinary system.”
Note to reporter:
A replacement for Mt Eden Prison is currently under construction, and is due to be completed in 2011.
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