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$25,000 phone plan proves poor value for South Coast inmate

Published date: Saturday, 3 August 2019

[PDF version of this media release]

A South Coast Correctional Centre inmate will be questioning his choice of phone plan after being caught with a shopping bag full of mobile phones and drug paraphernalia.

The 47-year-old minimum-security inmate involved in the incident on Friday 2 August was placed in segregation with police investigations continuing.

Corrective Services NSW Commissioner Peter Severin congratulated the officers working in the prison’s industries area for their vigilance in exposing the contraband.

“An officer noticed a group of three or four inmates behaving suspiciously and continued to monitor them closely,” Mr Severin said.

“When one of those inmates tried to distract him, the officer realised that a crime may have taken place. Officers immediately searched the group and discovered one of the offenders had a Woolworths bag full of contraband stuffed down his pants.”

Following the seizure, officers reviewed earlier prison CCTV footage. They identified a vehicle driven by a member of the public thought to be responsible for introducing the contraband into the prison.

The bag contained:

  • Five mobile phones, all with SIM cards inside
  • Five phone chargers
  • Half a kilogram of a substance believed to be tobacco
  • Four boxes of cigarette papers
  • Five cigarette lighters
  • Balloons containing 4.9 grams of a substance believed to be methamphetamine.

With smart phones having an estimated prison price of between $3,000 and $5,000 each, the black-market value of all the goods seized may have been as much as $90,000.

South Coast Correctional Centre Governor Mick Reid praised the officers for the find, making clear his team has zero tolerance for contraband.

“Phones, drugs and other contraband often spur violent altercations between offenders. That means they threaten the safety of everyone in the prison environment, be they staff or inmates,” Mr Reid said.

Inmates found in possession of contraband may face prosecution. CSNSW may also withdraw privileges including television, radio and contact visits for up to 56 days. Those found attempting to smuggle items into prisons from outside face a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment.