Corrections Victoria staff are taking a zero tolerance approach on attempts to smuggle cigarettes, drugs and other contraband into our prisons, with more than 11,000 items seized in the space of nine months.
The latest figures show almost 60 per cent of seizures were smoking-related, as targeted and random searches saw more than 6500 seizures from prisoners and visitors of tobacco, improvised cigarettes, matches, lighters and other items between July 2015 and March 2016.
Smoking bans have been in place across all Victorian prisons since July 1 last year.
Other seized items included prescription medication, edged weapons, syringes and electronic devices, while prison officers have also confiscated more than 450 litres of home brew.
Corrections Victoria staff conduct regular searches of prisoners and visitors, including in cars and all public areas.
The specialist Security and Emergency Services Group (SESG) unit – working with a large contingent of detection dogs – also conducts thousands of searches each year, intercepting items such as drugs, alcohol and weapons.
A number of dogs have now been trained to sniff out tobacco products, ensuring the state’s prisons remain smoke free.
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.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Corrections Steve Herbert
“The Andrews Labor Government takes a zero-tolerance approach to attempts to smuggle contraband into prisons.”
“The message is clear, if prisoners have contraband in the prison – we will find it. 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.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020