Staff at Invercargill Prison have thwarted two opportunities for drug smuggling this week, after finding cannabis under the postage stamps of incoming prisoner mail.

“Prisoner mail and incoming property are regularly searched when it arrives. Our administration staff identified two letters, addressed to the same prisoner, as potentially suspicious. They passed the items on for further investigation, and concealed underneath the postage stamp on each was a small amount of cannabis leaf,” says Prison Director Daryl Tamati.

“This was great work by the team, who stopped the drugs from getting to the prisoner they were intended for.”

“Drugs can create a more dangerous working environment for our staff, and prevent prisoners from engaging in rehabilitation, education and employment opportunities.”

The drug finds come the week after a detector dog team at Manawatu Prison found an incoming mail package containing chess pieces that had been packed with cannabis leaf and oil.

Managing the introduction of contraband into prisons is a constant challenge. A range of methods are used at prisons across New Zealand to prevent drugs, weapons, cellphones and other prohibited items from entering. They include 24 detector dog teams operating across the country, x-ray technology, telephone monitoring of prisoners’ calls and single points of entry to sites.

“The letters and drugs have been passed on to Police for investigation. If the sender is identified they may face criminal prosecution, and could be banned from visiting the prison for up to 12 months,” says Mr Tamati.

“We know that prisoners will put a huge amount of pressure on their families, friends and associates to introduce contraband for them. The consequences for doing so can be significant. Anyone who has been asked to bring drugs into a prison should report it to anonymous crime reporting line Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. “