Prison intercepts booty thrown over fence

| 24/07/2013

(CNS): A bag containing what is believed to be around five ounces of ganja, a box of smoking papers, a smart phone and charger were intercepted by officials at Grand Cayman's prison at the weekend. The package containing the contraband was lobbed over the perimeter fence at HMP Northward and officers are reportedly now looking at the prison's cameras to try and identify the person who attempted to deliver the parcel over the 15 foot security fence to an inmate. Although the fence is topped with razor wire, packages are still sometimes thrown over into the jail compound, despite the risk of prosecution of the perpetrators.

While members of the public who are caught throwing booty into the prison are subject to criminal prosecution, the inmates who intercept them lose remission time from their sentences. However, this latest bundle was intercepted by prison staff before the inmates got to it.

Meanwhile, in a separate incident that took place this weekend, an inmate was found using a BlackBerry device. Although he immediately destroyed the phone when he was caught, the smartphone was confiscated.

The new prison director who took up the top job in May, Neil Lavis, said it was discovered because of his staff’s keen observations and swift work.

“These operations continue the zero-tolerance policy towards drugs and communication devices, which was introduced earlier this year,” the prison boss said. “Over recent weeks I have emphasized to staff the importance of these procedures. The urgent responses by officers to suspicions and intelligence in this regard are noteworthy, and I am encouraged by their enthusiasm.”

Before he arrived the prison service had already instituted a no-tolerance policy for cell-phones amongst staff members and a new BOSS (body-scanner) chair was introduced in 2012 to scan inmates, visitors and staff.

However, the issue of cell-phones and drugs remain a major problem for the prison. CNS recently revealed that prisoners were posting pictures of themselves on Facebook pages, throwing gang signs and smoking ganja in their jail cells, which were believed to have been posted using smartphones such as Blackberries or other devices.

Prison officials have persistently stated that phone and drug use is a problem for prisons worldwide but Lavis said new solutions were being sought to address the issue. On the local front, he vowed to continue the zero-tolerance policy, “as drugs and cell-phones are not only major security breaches, but also inhibit prisoner rehabilitation," he said.

“I recognise that these problems are universal, and overcoming them requires strategic planning, resources and a combined effort by all stakeholders. Apart fromdetection, I believe it is also important to reduce drug use by offering programmes which reduce prisoners’ reliance on drugs," Lavis added.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Lol! When I read this headline, I thought it was some love struck woman who throw herself over the fence! Lol! Made my day.

  2. Anonymous says:

    There are a few people I'd like to throw over that fence!

  3. Anonymous says:

    "JAMMERS" are available in the prison im told however if you look at the massive antenna right outside of the prison belonging to lime i believe then you will know jammers would not work until that mast is moved. SIMPLE RIGHT?

  4. Anonymous says:

    "Cat" I like your suggestion to solving the problems at HMP.  We cannot prosecute persons just because a phone that may have been registered in your their name and all of sudden turns up in Northward Prison – these are stolen goods that are being thrown over the fence.  Punishment for being found with such contraband behind prison walls should equal more time behind bars!!! 

  5. Kadafe says:

    I wonder if a few cameras mounted in the hot spots where these people throw contraband over the fence would not provide a deterrence for the ones doing this? 

  6. Anonymous says:

    So lets see how is that the authorities cannot trace the phone number and see who the phone is registered to?

    How is it that every cell phone that is ceased cannot be traced to an owner?

    If the owner is a "free" person then prosecute them and put them in prison too so that neither one of the criminals would need a cell phone to communitcate.

  7. Anonymous says:

    What about the consumption of cigarettes in prison? That’s a problem also! It should be banned as well.

    That’s a luxury that people in the free world should have and be able to partake in if they choose. Not those for whatever reason chose to break the law. In addition it is also a hazard to allow inmates to have objects that can start a fire (Cigarette Liter/Matches). Any given day one of those guys can purposely start a fire for whatever idiotic reason he has at the time. It’s really common sense!

    If you don’t think so they should be able to have a “Cold One” as well, along with that Cig. #imjustsaying.

  8. Anonymous says:

    You can buy a device which would scramble any mobile phone signal in the prison making them unusable.

    Obviously it doesn't solve the drug problem but it is  a start

    • anonymous says:

      not with a cell tower right next door

    • BigBen says:

      This technology seems perfectly suited:

      "Specializing in radio and cellular standards research, Netline offers a complete line of products to support prison authorities in maintaining a cell phone free zone in prisons or control and prevent cellular traffic in prison facilities. "

      if the Director indicates that the equipment cannot be used for lack of funding and no other reason, I would encourage him to ask the local service organizations who would willingly support such a simple and effective measure to improve the community at large.

  9. Anonymous says:

    In  Phoenix AZ  we pull dogs from local shelters and train them to sniff out drugs and cellphones. Yes I said cellphones. Believe it or not our last dog was a pit bull and he is getting great reviews from his training and is curretly working the prison. Maybe the CI governemnt should look in to this? You have many dog s in your local shelter and there is no reason why you could not use what you have locally and not spend $$$ importing from the USA. We feel strongly on saving what we can and giving back to our community here. Before you jump on my statement please know I lived in the Cayman Islands for 14 years before moving back to the USA so I am well aware of the problems both there and here.  I also live in Maricopa County which is well know for Sheriff Joe. Yes we have tent city for prisoners and they do wear black & white striped chain gang type jumpsuits and work to cleanup the trash by the roads and parks. Yes they do wear pink underwear and have to use an outdoor toilet.  I am sure you are either laughing or getting anrgy over this treatment of prisoners but I will tell you it is working for our crime rates so it never hurts to look for other solutions to your problems and for sure  those that cost little to nothing. Did I mention  the female prisoners also help clean the local dog shelters too.  Being in prison should not be a "time out" it should be for paying back to your communtiyfor the wrong you have done. Be productive and not expect those us living in the outside world to pay for your time in. Get up off you backside and learn from this experience and try to set it right.  You will be a better person for it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Great suggestion! And also, the humiliation prisoners in orange will feel in a chain gang waving to their family and friends crossing by, would surely hell improvethis small island’s crime rate! Make them p/up garbage, mow lawns free, train dogs for homes.They got it too easy hiding up in NWP. Tent ’em up yeah!

  10. Whodatis says:

    Come on, CNS… "booty"?

    Please bear in mind your host community as you pen these headlines and news reports.

    As a Caymanian reading what is regarded by many as the premier media house in the country today – I must say this headline reads and feels very … alien.

    It is akin to some news reporter in the UK penning; "Prison intercepts scandal bag thrown over fence."

    A little bit of "when in Rome" goes a long way sometimes. (E.g. During my time in the UK, I quickly realized that referring to a gas station as a "petrol station" greatly simplified my existence.)

    Just a thought.

    Anyway, good work on the part of the prison staff. 5 oz of high grade is a significant haul considering the circumstances. However, the interception is sure to result in some friction within the prison population.

    Also, I am liking this Neil Lavis fella so far. He comes across as fair and balanced – which is a welcome breath of fresh air.

    Keep up the good work, sir!

    • WOW says:

      You seriously criticizing the creativity behind a headline? Got nothing more productive to add? Maybe some valuable suggestions on how to improve? How is it "Alien"? You forget we have a rich history of pirates? What did pirates call treasure or loot? Booty. Come on bredrin, Don't be hating because CNS never hired you…. On another note, these idiots are posting on facebook. I know for sure with all this op tempura stuff Cayman has its own little NSA, so how you mean you can't find the perpetrator? Who bought the phone? No finger prints? Sneaking illicit drugs and paraphenilia isn't enough to get a warrant for the prisoner's facebook activity?And how can you not solve a drug problem in a prison? Its a confined space. Dogs geniuses, dogs, we got nuff of them all over the island. Chha man

    • anonymous says:

      Booty=treasure. You're thinking about the booty that comes in the front gate.

  11. Cat says:

    I believe, a few ways to help identify the perpetrators who are throwing this contraband over the fence as well as the purp on the inside who they are intented for:

    1) Is by installing motion sensors on the outside and or/ lighting beside the cameras, so that when a perp is near the fence the sensors are activated just like those at home, the lights turn on and will shine on the purp by the fence. It will also provide easier visibility by the cameras and enables the police to see their facial features,clothing etc.

    It will also prevent the purp from commiting this crime under the cover of darkness and making it easier for them to be noticed and harder to hide. Regular motion sensor lights run about KYD$45.00 each at A.L. Thompson's and other places. Its not some million dollar investment they have to make. It's quite simple.

    2)Being that is it clear that the police are having a hard time located the phones,the way they have been doing, they should resort to locating the phones by the calls being made with in the prison. They should have a system that alerts them when a device is being used in a jail cell areas, just like in cases where phone locations are traced during a call. I know that you have an option of turning off your location services on smart phones but you should be able to trace calls or detect a device's location when they are in use at a particular time using the cell towers or a hand held device that can detect radio frequency transmission ,sort of like place a cell phone next to a radio.

    3) The prison should no longer be made so easy to access by civilians/visitors. The land presently beside the prison should be cleared and fenced much much higher at least 50ft high,razor wired, then another set of fencing and razor wires , with sensored lights  (for at night), and another check point at the first fence, where cars are searched as well as persons before they enter into the present compound, where they can be searched again if necessary.

    Perps with contraband would have to climb over two 50ft razor wired fences before getting to the fence that presently exists before they can throwany anything over any fence. Maybe they could add a bit of electricity to fence No.2 as well. That will be a pleasant experience for climbing…

    These ideas are pretty simple and wouldn't put a huge hole  in the prisons budget.

    • CCTV says:

      And we haver the technology on CCTV cameras to capture license plates!

      RCIP & Prison Services need to run these plate IDs and keep a log.

      When fence thrown items are found, run the report and narrow which cars went down the prison road.  Narrow the search.

      I like this zero tolerance new guy.  Now lets address what is getting these young people into prison get locals some white collar work so these gang girlfriends have something better to do than driveto the prison and throw stuff to their druggoe boyfriends.

      I say STOP the cycle of drug gangs & girlfriends and these jailbird losers will be alone in jail without their gang mommas.

      Offer vocational training to young women instead of teen pregnancy and the life of gang girlfriend!

      I dare Tara and Winston to go out to the clubs at midnight to speak to this group of youth at risk!!!