Contraband in Prisons flourishing, no leniency for officers found colluding- Director

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Prisoner Officers found colluding in trafficking contraband into the various penitentiaries countrywide will not be shown leniency and they will have to answer to the law.

Acting Director of Prisons, Gladwin Samuels

This is according to Acting Prisons Director, Gladwin Samuels in a press statement on Monday, alluding to the recent upsurge of prohibited items being found in the prison and even in the possession of prisoners.

“…Over the past few weeks, despite regular searches, we continue to unearth various forms of contraband including cellular phones, marijuana and local wine, and these are the minor items, which have made their way into our prisons… Trafficking in contraband at all locations is a matter of grave concern, but at the Mazaruni Prison, which is a maximum security prison it is worst because of the extent of the collusion that is needed for many contraband items to get into the prison,” he said.

File photo: items unearthed during a prison sweep

According to Samuels, this is a cause for concern as it questions the commitment to the service [by prison officers], the security of the prison and by extension, the security of the nation.

“Make no mistake about it, our security is at risk when we allow these items in.”

In an effort to elaborate on his point, the Prison Director said that the prisoners are getting access to these prohibited items by either bringing it into the prisons themselves- which would prove that the quality of searches conducted is poor-, “some persons may be bring in the items out of sympathy for the imprisoned, or some persons are being paid to have the items smuggled in – this would mean that the security at checkpoints are comprised or being bribed.”

“We will continue our searches and those found to be colluding in trafficking contraband will have to answer to the law. We cannot compromise…It is said that once you have comprised yourself by becoming a trafficker, you are not allowed to stop even if you want to stop… If we support them and their families in contravening the laws of the prison, we are not helping them; we are in fact condoning the very activities that caused them to be in prison in the first place; we are telling them it is ok to be lawless. We are setting them up for a continued life of crime and failure. Worse, we are showing them that we are no better than they are,” he warned.

Further, he charged that prison officers should “stand for what is right!” highlighting that there is still time for the ones who may have allowed themselves to be compromised, to get back on track.

Over the past few months, there have been several cases of prohibited items being discovered in the prisons, in addition to instances where prison officers were implicated in the smuggling.

Only recently a 37-year-old woman attempted to smuggle marijuana into the prison to her husband- who has been remanded on a murder charge- by packing it into a boxes containing cooked rice.

She was charged and remanded to prison last week.

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