78 Nowra jail visitors caught with contraband

Twelve weapons and 100 rounds of ammunition were among the items seized from visitors at Nowra jail in the last year.

In 2016 more than 270 visitors to South Cost Correctional Centre were charged by police or denied entry to the prison after being caught trying to smuggle contraband to inmates.

Corrective Services NSW’s Search Operation Group conducted 79 visitor searches at the South Nowra centre last year and seized about 1125g of tobacco with a prison value of at least $10,000.

Other contraband seized from visitors included 12 weapons, 100 rounds of ammunition, 81g of crystal meth and 1.083g of green vegetable matter, thought to be cannabis.

The statistics come as CSNSW reminds prison visitors there is a zero tolerance approach to tobacco smuggled into the state’s correctional centres, following a spike in the number of visitors caught red-handed.

Assistant Commissioner of Security and Intelligence Mark Wilson praised the work of the Special Operations Group for preventing contraband getting into the centre at South Nowra.

But he said many visitors still believed smoking was allowed inside correctional centres.

“While many visitors clearly know they are smuggling in illegal tobacco, in some cases visitors didn’t realise they were trafficking contraband because tobacco is legally available outside of prison,” Mr Wilson said.

“The consequences of smuggling in tobacco are very strong and can result in the loss of visiting privileges for up to two years.

“The visitors are often devastated when this occurs as they have no history of trafficking, so this penalises inmates as well as visitors.

“Visitors – whether professional or personal – need to be reminded that it’s not OK to bring in tobacco.”

Seventy-eight visitors to South Coast Correctional Centre were charged by police for contraband offences, while a further 196 were denied entry for a period of time.

Smoking is not permitted anywhere on the grounds of a correctional centre or complex including car parks and walkways.

Visitors caught bringing contraband into prisons face penalties of up to two years’ imprisonment and other drug-related charges.

Another penalty is a ban on visits of up to two years.