There’s been a rise reported in the numbers of phones, weapons and hooch seized across the prison network. Dublin’s Wheatfield Prison saw the most contraband seized, according to figures from the Irish Prison Service.
1,425 mobiles were confiscated in the twelve jails last year representing a rise of 4% on 2021.
Wheatfield saw 495 phones confiscated, followed by fellow capital clinks Mountjoy and Cloverhill.
In all 311 weapons were seized in prisons – again Wheatfield had the most seizures followed by Cloverhill and Castlerea.
Elsewhere and perhaps more worryingly the seizure of hooch rose by 75% when compared with 2021. 545 litres were seized in total with over half that coming from Mountjoy.
Any inmate found with contraband runs the risk of losing privileges or having further time added to their sentence.
The Irish Prison Officers Association this evening issued this response and how they fight the transportation of such contraband through out prison service:
Preventing the access of contraband (including drugs) into prisons will always remain a high priority for the Irish Prison Service.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have seen an increase in the number of “throw overs” i.e. contacts on the outside attempting to throw mobile phones and drugs into exercise yards.
Due to the regimes currently in operation in our prisons, prison staff have been able to identify and intercept many of these “throw-overs” ensuring they do not reach the prison population.
Staff have increased the use of random and intelligence led cell searches on a daily basis. Our Canine Unit carry out searches around the prisons, including a greater focus on searching deliveries.
An increase in drugs found in post, parcels, and prisoner clothing has also increased as a result of visits being suspended. Advancements in our drug detection technology has proved particularly effective in identifying drugs that are sprayed onto letters, newspapers, and other prisoner property.
The Irish Prison Service continues to engage with An Garda Síochana with regard to preventing contraband entering our prison and this happen at both local and national level.
The Operational Support Group work closely with their colleagues in An Garda Síochana on a regular basis and the sharing of intelligence has led to targeting searching and the seizure of contraband.
The Irish Prison Service recognises that constant improvements are required in this area and introduced a free confidential telephone line (1800 855 717) which is operational.
Prisoners, visitors, staff or members of the public with information on the trafficking of prohibited items into our prisons can pass on that information in the strictest confidence.