Huge contraband haul at Australia’s biggest remand prison
Prison officers from the country’s largest remand and maximum-security prison in Silverwater have been praised for staying one step ahead of the contraband game, following a recent haul worth up to $500K on the inside.
Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre staff amped-up their search efforts to reduce contraband entering the prison – with a two-week blitz targeting fence ‘throwovers’ – and intercepted more than a dozen black parcels containing drugs, phones, and other contraband items.
Minister for Corrections Anoulack Chanthivong, said the MRRC officers did an excellent job as the first line of defence in stopping contraband entering the NSW prison system.
“This is the gateway to our prison network so intercepting contraband stops it circulating among inmates across the state,” Mr Chanthivong said.
“The corrections team in facilities and in the community is doing an incredibly tough job and results like this show they’re doing it well.
“This was a remarkable find and our prison system and community is safer because of it.”
Corrective Services NSW Commissioner Kevin Corcoran PSM thanked staff for their tireless work combating contraband, especially as smuggling attempts were becoming more sophisticated.
“Under the direction of Governor Adam Wilkinson, officers increased intelligence surveillance, information gathering, CCTV observation, searches, sharing information with NSW Police, and changing-up inmate routines to avoid complacency,” Mr Corcoran said.
“They’ve also been conducting covert search operations using the prison’s Immediate Action Team and the Security Operations Group.
“Their work has certainly paid off and it sends a clear message to offenders that we take a zero-tolerance approach when it comes to contraband.
“We’ll continue to search for emerging technologies to fight the introduction of contraband, but you also can’t beat the eyes and ears of the people in blue on the ground.”
Other contraband-busting tactics include the use of body scanning technology on inmates and visitors entering prisons, as well as photocopying all non-privileged inmate mail.
MRRC Acting Manager of Security, Wayne Bywater, said the contraband bust was one of the biggest he’d seen in his 21-year career with CSNSW.
“I’ve been in corrections a long time and am used to seeing smaller finds of contraband, so this was extraordinary and all thanks to the hard work of staff,” Mr Bywater said.
“Some of this contraband may not seem overly concerning to the public, however the value of these items is exponentially higher in prison than in the community, posing a real threat to safety and security.
“It’s not just about the consumption and use of contraband items, but also the risk of inmates fighting or using intimidation tactics to control the contraband network.”
The parcels contained contraband including:
- 7 mobile phones
- 5 phone chargers
- 242 Buprenorphine strips
- 62.3g of methamphetamine
- 226g of cannabis
- 1.75kg of tobacco
- 2 vapes
- 13 cigarette lighters
- 280 tobacco filters
- hundreds of cigarette filters and papers.