Tattoo guns, USBs smuggled into jails
DRUGS, alcohol, weapons and mobile phones were among items smuggled into Townsville prisons.
New figures reveal that in the past financial year, 204 banned items were discovered in the Townsville Correctional Centre Complex, which includes the Townsville Correctional Centre, Townsville Women's Correctional Centre, Townsville Correctional Centre (male farm) and Townsville Correctional Centre (female farm).
Contraband found at the complex included 49 drug implements and/or drugs, 15 alcohol items, 18 electronic devices including mobile phones and USBs, 17 weapons/shivs, 35 smoking products and 41 tattoo guns or implements.
During the previous financial year, in 2016-17, 202 banned items were detected in the Townsville Correctional Centre Complex, including 69 drug and/or drug implements, 23 alcohol substances, 20 weapons/shivs and 21 smoking products.
A Queensland Corrective Services spokesman said Corrective Services had a zero-tolerance approach to contraband in prisons and was committed to the safety and security of all staff, visitors and prisoners.
"Corrective Services uses a range of techniques to identify and seize prohibited items, including passive alert drug detection dogs," the spokesman said.
"Attempting to smuggle contraband into correctional centres is a serious issue and puts the lives of staff and prisoners at risk.
"No matter the reason, if people attempt to introduce contraband into Queensland Corrective Services properties or facilities there will be consequences."
The spokesman said Corrective Services worked closely with the Queensland Police Service to identify and charge those who would compromise the safety and security of centres by providing contraband items.
"Taking or attempting to take a prohibited item into a corrective services facility is an offence with a penalty of up to two years' imprisonment," he said.
The Together Union, which represents prison officers, said overcrowded prisons led to not only contraband items finding their way into prisons, but to an increase in assaults.
"When you have more people in jail you are going to have more contraband and you are going to see more assaults," Together Union Townsville organiser Norm Jacobsen said.
"Prison officers are doing a difficult job.
"The officers are conducting these random searches and they are finding contraband.
"It is important, though, that the infrastructure is in place in the facilities to support the punishment of those who are found with contraband."