Fulham prison contraband seizures disclosed

MORE than 100 contraband items were seized during a purge of prohibited items at Fulham Correctional Centre last year, the State Government has revealed.

A release from the State Government detailed how the blitz, which was carried out from February 1 to May 31 last year, involved prison officers carrying out more than 8600 cell searches and 2300 drug tests on inmates at Fulham.

The searches included passive-alert dogs, pat-downs, possession searches, strip searches and vehicle searches.

Eighty four inmates at Fulham tested positive to various drugs, including Methadone, cannabis, amphetamines and opiates.

One hundred and fourteen inmates were found with 105 contraband items, including 22 drug items, 12 items of prescription drugs, 15 pieces of drug-related paraphernalia, 15 weapons, three items of alcohol and 16 other banned items, including tattoo and gambling items and a mobile phone.

Fifteen visitors were also intercepted attempting to smuggle prohibited items into the prison, which included eight drug items, six pieces of drug-related paraphernalia, and one packet of prescription drugs.

The crackdown was part of a state-wide move against contraband in prisons, led by Corrections Victoria’s Security and Emergency Services Group.

Statewide, there were nearly 71,000 searches of prisoners and prison areas, visitors and visitor possessions in targeted and random searches to intercept contraband such as illegal drugs, alcohol and weapons.

A Corrections Victoria spokesman said the lengths to which people went to smuggle contraband into prisons were “extreme.”

“The methods they are using are becoming more sophisticated,” he said.

“Corrections Victoria is constantly on the look out for new and improved ways of detecting contraband such as drugs, weapons and mobile phones.

“Every prison has staff solely dedicated to the task of detecting and intercepting contraband.

“We also search prison visitors and their cars on prison land, and anyone caught with illicit drugs or a controlled weapon is immediately banned and referred to Victoria Police.”

A government spokesman said the interceptions of the contraband reflected the nature of prison inmates and visitors.

“By their very nature, prisons are environments where many of the daily comforts we take for granted are forbidden, as they should be.

“It is an unfortunate by-product that some prisoners and their associates will try to do the wrong thing. This information shows how well the systems which are in place to block this contraband are working.”