Tighter security to combat prison smuggling


Tighter security measures are to be introduced next month to halt drugs being smuggled into prisons.

The Prison Service says anyone entering a prison will have to walk through an airport-style scanner and be checked by a sniffer dog.

The blocking of mobile phone calls from prisons will also be phased in from next month.

It comes as Prison Service Director Brian Purcell said the prison system is not in crisis.

Mobile phones were the scourge of prisons all over the world, Mr Purcell said.

The blocking system is set to be fully operational in the Midlands Prison next month, and in Portlaoise Prison in four months before being rolled out to all other jails.

Mr Purcell said the system was complicated and took over two years to install because it had to be calibrated and had to abide by ComReg and health and safety regulations.

The system was unique to Ireland and there had already been inquiries from other prisons in Europe and the US, the director said.

The Prison Service has been subjected to serious criticism in the wake of allegations that inmate Brian Meehan was involved in gun and drug trafficking from Portlaoise Prison, and drugs and a mobile phone were found in John Gilligan’s cell.

Mr Purcell said prisoners were extremely resourceful and he was not surprised that violent and dangerous criminals would continue their involvement in serious crime from behind bars.

source: http://www.rte.ie/news/2008/0912/prison.html


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