Contraband laws in place

Holly ThompsonSound Telegraph
The new penalties mean visitors who try to bring in contraband such as drugs will face a $12,000 fine and 18 months in jail.
Camera IconThe new penalties mean visitors who try to bring in contraband such as drugs will face a $12,000 fine and 18 months in jail. Credit: Peter de Kruijff/Pilbara News

Face-to-face prison visits have restarted at Casuarina prison and across WA, alongside stricter laws for visitors who attempt to bring contraband in when visiting inmates.

The new penalties mean visitors who try to bring in contraband such as drugs will face a $12,000 fine and 18 months in jail.

Last year, 13 people who visited Casuarina inmates were referred to police following visitor search operations.

Of the 13, one allegedly possessed drug-related paraphernalia, 11 were suspected of having an illicit substance and one allegedly possessed both.

The Department of Justice and Corrective Services has said they were confident the tough new penalties, in effect from June 27, will act as a further deterrent to anyone considering trafficking banned items.

Corrective Services Minister Francis Logan said anyone bringing in a contraband item would risk significantly increased penalties and serious time in jail.

“These tough new laws, which have increased penalties by at least sixfold in many cases, send a clear message that we are not letting up on our war to stop drugs and other contraband getting in our jails,” he said.

“You would be extremely foolish to try to break the law. Do not go from visitor to prisoner. You are not helping anyone inside and you could find yourself locked up serving more time than the person you think you're helping.”

Corrective Services Commissioner Tony Hassall said the aim was to provide a safe a secure environment for both prison staff and the people in their care.

“I take a zero tolerance approach to illicit drugs and contraband that puts the health and safety of our prisoners and detainees at risk,” he said.

“People who are bringing contraband into prisons are not doing anyone any favours, least of all their friends and family who are in custody.”

Fines for refusing to be searched have also increased from $1000 to $6000, and fines for loitering around a prison have been raised from $1000 to $6000.

In 2019, the number of people referred to police following visitor search operations at WA prisons was 132. Hakea prison recorded the highest number of referrals at 44, followed by Acacia Prison at 31 and then Casuarina at 13.

If you have information on anyone attempting to bring contraband into prison or you are being pressured to bring in drugs, you can anonymously call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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