Prison guards discover contraband

Maryborough Correctional Centre’s general manager Trevor Craig.
Maryborough Correctional Centre’s general manager Trevor Craig.

JUST one month after seizing a home-made tattoo gun, ink, a used syringe and a piece of sharpened metal, prison officers have discovered more contraband in the Maryborough Correctional Centre.

According to jail sources, officers were ordered to search the prison on Wednesday. This time around a number of Allen keys were reportedly found hidden in a prisoner's cell.

“Of course the prison staff are concerned,” Queensland Public Sector Union's Ron Fossen said yesterday.

“But this is not only serious for the custodial officers but also for prisoners ... once they start sharing around items such as tattoo guns and syringes they decrease the security of the whole facility.”

Mr Fossen said prison officers believed the incidents may not have occurred if it wasn't for management changes which they claim have stripped them of their authority and ability to safely manage the facility.

“It goes back to the soft approach by Correctional Services,” he said.

“While the department is now in negotiations with our members, there doesn't seem to be the urgency this situation requires.”

Maryborough Correctional Centre general manager Trevor Craig denied the policy change had anything to do with the contraband materials.

“People come in on a daily basis from the community and can hide articles in places that are very, very hard for us to see.

“A large percentage is drug users in the community and a number of them know they're going to be incarcerated so they want to be prepared and they conceal syringes and drugs.

“What we do to reduce that risk is bring an alert detection dog to determine whether they are carrying any drugs. Same goes with property.

“I have been in the prison system for 26 years and I believe our system in terms of detection and prevention is as good as, if not better than, anywhere else in Australia.”

Mr Craig said staff was “very conscious” of prisoners banding together materials to make items such as the tattoo gun seized during the search in December.

“Unfortunately, tattoos are like a symbol for prisoners. It is something we are very conscious about.”

He said while prisoners went through rigorous security measures when they used the jail's metal shop, “from time to time” prisoners were able to conceal small items such as metal.

“We search the prison regularly...we start the day off with searches.”

He said two visitors had been charged in this financial year with trying to smuggle contraband in.

He said there had also been “very few” breaches against staff.

“In my opinion, working in this prison is one of the safest occupations you can get.”

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