Namibia: Prison guards help smuggle illicit goods

The Commanding Officer of Windhoek Correctional Institution, Deputy Commissioner Veikko Armas, said the institution has recorded an alarming level of illegal goods being smuggled into the prison by correctional officers/staff, offenders and people visiting detainees.

In this context, an anti-smuggling campaign was organized in Windhoek last weekend to raise awareness among the public and correctional officers of the dangers of such practices.

According to Armas, between January and April this year, 95 mobile phones, 101 packets of dagga in the form of balies, balls or sachets, 33 packets of crack, eight mandrax tablets and 75 packets of tobacco were found in the establishment during searches. carried out and in shipments that have been deposited or deposited in the establishment or in public places such as hospitals, courts or schools and intercepted.

Some of the illicit items were intercepted before they could enter the facility, particularly during external patrols conducted by officers around the perimeters of the facility, as these drugs are often planted around these areas by those who work in cahoots with inmates, Armas said.

He further stated that contraband smuggling poses a significant threat to the overall mandate of the Namibian Correctional Service (NCS) to provide safe, secure and humane custody to offenders.

Illegal items such as cell phones, drugs and weapons can be used by offenders to perpetuate violence against officers, other offenders and members of the public. They can also be used by offenders to engage in criminal activities such as creating underground economies and aggravating existing drug addictions among offenders, he explained.

Sometimes contraband can be hidden in food containers/items like coffee or bread; or they could be placed in toiletries such as lotion, toothpaste, aqueous cream or even petroleum jelly, he said.

He further stated that contraband entering institutions poses a significant threat to the safety of correctional staff, offenders and the public. Negative effects associated with the use of contraband and smuggling include increased security threats, intimidation and violence in the establishment.

“I urge the public to help us in this fight. The safety of correctional facilities is the safety of the public, as part of our commitment to the NCS mandate to contribute to public safety.”

Armas called on the public to report any incidents if they know of members of the public or correctional officers planning to smuggle contraband with inmates.

“Do not hesitate to contact our establishment on 061 284 6512/13 or the nearest police station.

“Let’s work together to make our facilities contraband-free for the effective rehabilitation of offenders,” he added.

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