25 September 2023

Prison officers stamp out contraband

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An innovative scheme for smuggling contraband into the State’s jails and Corrections Centres via greeting cards has been discovered by Corrective Services officers at Silverwater Women’s Correctional Centre.

The Officers became suspicious last month after noticing that the spine of a ‘Thinking of You’ card addressed to an inmate was slightly detached.

Governor Paula Quarrie said intelligence officers located 12 buprenorphine strips, weighing 0.6g, after pulling away the inner paper from the cardboard backing.

“Someone was thinking of this inmate in completely the wrong way,” Ms Quarrie said.

“My staff did a great job to locate these drugs before they could get into the wrong hands.”

She said there were about 100 incidents last year of contraband found in letters, cards, parcels or other mail sent to inmates.

She said buprenorphine (‘Bupe’) strips were a prescription heroin-replacement and were the most common item of contraband seized. They are reportedly worth about $200 per strip in a maximum-security centre.

Commissioner of Corrective Services NSW, Peter Severin praised staff for their continued vigilance and commitment to stamping contraband out of NSW’s prisons.

“It’s important that inmates stay in touch with families and friends through letters but this kind of behaviour jeopardises their chances of rehabilitation,” Mr Severin said.

He said that contraband finds of ‘Bupe’ in inmate mail had recently been found in the Long Bay Correctional Complex, Lithgow Correctional Centre and Dillwynia Correctional Centre.

“In most cases the senders name and return address are fake,” he said.

“In some instances, the contents of letters are handed to NSW police for investigation.”

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