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​Crackdown on inmates with mobile phones

Issued: Thursday, ​1 October 2015

​Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW) has introduced strengthened penalties against inmates as part of a crackdown on those found with mobile phones.

From today, any inmate found with a mobile phone will be immediately regressed to a maximum security prison and their security classification will be reviewed.

Inmates will also be immediately dismissed from employment, rotated through different cells every few days, and have the power to their cells switched off where necessary.

In addition, any offender returning to custody who was found with a mobile phone in prison within the last 12 months will also be sent straight to maximum security.

CSNSW recognises mobile phones are a threat to the security of prisons and community safety and takes a zero tolerance approach to it.

The new penalties are in conjunction with a lock down of the minimum security wing at Goulburn prison today for a contraband search by specialist Security Operations Group officers. As a result of the search a mobile phone was found in a cell and two inmates were immediately moved to the maximum security section of the prison. 

The recently announced mobile phone body scanner was also introduced to Goulburn prison today. The scanner is capable of detecting switched off mobile phones concealed within a body cavity.

All maximum and medium security prisons will have the full body scanners in place by the end of this year. This is in addition to the use of K9s, including mobile phone sniffer dogs, to carry out random and targeted searches of prisoners, visitors, cells and all common areas.

The Government and CSNSW recently announced mobile phone jamming at Lithgow prison will be extended for another three years. It will be expanded next year to include another prison for a period of two years – CSNSW wants that second prison to be Goulburn Correctional Centre.

Effective jamming technology is the ultimate answer because even if an inmate can smuggle a mobile phone into a prison, it will be worthless.

CSNSW is also exploring the introduction of a chair which acts as a body orifice security scanner to detect metal and vegetable matter.