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Issued: Tuesday 29 May 2017
Corrective Services NSW officers from the elite Special Operations Group were aided by their four-legged K9-unit companions over the weekend as they stopped dozens of visitors from bringing drugs, weapons and alcohol into the state's prisons.
Tobacco, alcohol, methamphetamine and even a cattle-prod were among items seized by Corrective Services officers at Cessnock Correctional Centre, and with the assistance of NSW Police, at Goulburn and Long Bay correctional centres.
Assistant Commissioner Mark Wilson PSM said visitors bringing contraband into correctional centres were doing more harm than good – and were likely to be caught.
"Any contraband that enters the prison environment presents a major risk to the health, safety and security of staff and inmates," Mr Wilson PSM said.
"Visitors caught bringing banned items to correctional centres face penalties of up to two years' imprisonment.
"They could also face additional drug-related criminal charges and another penalty is a ban on visits of up to two years.
"Visitors can be guaranteed specialist search teams are a regular presence at correctional centres and we'll continue to show absolutely no tolerance for contraband."
A Special Operations Group search of visitors and their vehicles at Cessnock Correctional Centre in the Hunter region on Sunday unearthed a raft of illegal items including:
545gm of tobacco;
One butterfly knife;
One throwing knife;
Two ice-smoking pipes;
0.55gm of ice;
One pick handle; and
One cattle prod.
The items were found secreted in green and yellow balloons and stuffed down a woman's pants, concealed in a glove box and handbag, and hidden behind a skip bin.
Searches at Goulburn and Long Bay correctional centre also resulted in a number of items being seized including methamphetamine, syringes, alcohol and weapons.
CSNSW has significantly boosted its efforts to stop contraband entering the system, using a combination of measures including security screening equipment such as X-rays, strong intelligence gathering, and random and targeted searches.