The Challenge of Contrabands

Sow a Seed mentors ready
July 10, 2019
Cemetery Expansion begins
July 23, 2019

Monday 22 July, 19

The smuggling of contraband into Correction Centres in Fiji continue to be a serious security concern for the Fiji Correction Service.

Commissioner of Corrections Commander Francis Kean informed the media today in a special conference at the Suva Remand Center that convict prisoners and remand prisoners alike go to extreme lengths and undertake huge risks in their attempts to smuggle these illegal items into our Correction Centre.

“Sadly, all attempts to educate these prisoners on the consequences of their actions continue to fall on deaf ears to a minority incarcerated. In our recent past two prisoners had sadly passed away from cancer due to suspected leaking batteries of mobile phones into their body system,’’ Commander Kean said.

“These prisoners go to extreme lengths in hiding these contraband in their body cavity on entry into our correction centres and whilst incarcerated. They should realise that this is self-inflicted rape and they should be ashamed of themselves of doing this personal harm to their bodies.”

Similarly, visitors to these prisoners also go to extreme lengths to try to smuggle in these illegal contraband into the correction centres.

“We have managed to apprehend few visitors who have been charged by the Police and currently have their cases before the courts. Our general advice to all visitors is be on the right side of the law and comply to Fiji Correction Service visiting protocols; it’s not worth it plus most importantly you are not helping in our rehabilitation efforts towards bringing about positive changes in the character and behaviour of all prisoners.”

“We even have friends and family attempting to throw contraband over the prison walls. Some have resorted to use public transport to throw contraband over the prison walls. We have adopted several strategies to keep abreast of these security threats. We implore the general public to assist the Fiji Correction Service in identifying the culprits and assist apprehending and preventing those who carry out such illegal activities.
“In 2017, we started investing in portable electronic body scanners to assist us in our daily duty of detecting the smuggling of illegal contraband at the main gates of our 15 correction centres. Similarly, we will be installing permanent electronic body scanners at two of our correction centres this year as part of this strategy of assisting us in curbing and nullifying this security threat,’’ he adds.

“Furthermore, the current design of the majority of our correction centres will require structural changes in order to install and protect these permanent body scanner from the elements. We hope that this will be a progressive undertaking between the Fiji Correction Service and Government in the years ahead to enhance our overall prison security features by utilising the technology that is available in the market.

The FCS is also now in the process of breeding Labrador canine dogs to assist them  in detecting these illegal contrabands. The FCS recently commissioned its new breeding Labrador unit in Naboro. The FCS currently has 3 Labrador dogs but need to increase this number so that they can have at least one in each of its 15 correction centres.

Illegal items smuggled into the Suva Remand Center tagged with dates they were found.

“This is a capability we seriously need to enhance curb these illegal activities.”

Another feature of this illegal smuggling of contraband is the damaging of government property by prisoners to hide this contraband in their cells once they successfully enter through our gates undetected.

“This includes damages to toilet bowls, toilet pans, sewage piping, cell walls, tiles, and CCTV cameras. They damage this prison properties to hide their contraband. The new fad is to damage walls, insert contraband then plaster the damage with toothpaste.

“The onus is on the individual Officers at the respective correction centres to have an eye for these tactics during their routine inspections and snap searches.  The cost of repairing this damages is on the increase. Previously we never use to report these damages to government property by prisoners however as of 2016 we have started reporting the matter to the Police who have charged several of these prisoners and who currently have court dates relating to these offenses. This is all done as a deterrent.

“However, a minority number of this prisoners are oblivious to the respect for the laws, processes and Orders of the Fiji Correction Service.” 

Commander Kean however admits, that the threats of collusion between correction officers and prisoners is an ever present danger that they must seriously monitor.

“We have a zero tolerance stand on this in the Fiji Correction Service. Several officers have been terminated from the service for crossing this line, a few currently have their cases before the courts and 3 already convicted by the courts and serving their time in prison.”

error: Content is protected !!