In the wake of the three-month COVID-19 suspension of face-to-face visitations to prisons, there has been a fresh wave of drug and contraband operations targeting visitors to WA’s prison facilities.
New penalties have been introduced that are now in effect for attempts to smuggle illicit drugs and other contraband into prisons.
The operation—called Operation Revorsio—was conducted yesterday morning, Saturday 27th of June, at Hakea Prison and the adjoining Melaleuca Women’s prison as part of the state-wide drug search campaign. Special Operations group officers, Drug Detection Unit officers and detectors dogs were joined by WA Police Force officers.
Corrective Services Minister, Francis Logan, has stated “Today’s operation was not a one-off. Visitor searches can happen across the State’s prisons at any time and are part of relentless efforts to keep drugs out”.
Under tough new penalties introduced by the WA government, visitors trying to bring in contraband such as drugs could face a $12,000 fine and 18 months prison.
Refusing a search can incur a $6,000 fine and anyone caught loitering around a prison or concealing an article for a prisoner could be fined up to $6,000 and face 12 months’ prison.
Testing of prisoners during the absence of social visits has shown a fall in illicit drug use in the custodial estate.
State-wide randomised drug prevalence testing of 1,077 prisoners returned nine positive samples in May, compared with 35 positive samples from 1,073 prisoners in February.
During the suspension of visits, the Drug Detection Unit was diverted to focus on searching prison grounds, cells, common areas and prisoners’ mail.