Inmates score “get out of jail free card” on jailhouse drugs

At a Parliamentary committee today the inability of the Andrews Labor Government to hold inmates to account and keep Victorian prisons free of drugs during COVID-19 has been fully revealed.

Corrections Victoria and Crime Statistics Data has confirmed that only 222 of the 3,706 positive drug tests or seizures in 2019-20 resulted in an offence being recorded by Victoria Police – meaning fewer than 1 in every 10 inmates caught using or possessing drugs is charged.

This follows the latest monthly Drugs in Victorian Prisons Report which highlights an alarming increase in dangerous drugs and contraband seized from prisoners over the March to August 2020 period when compared to 2019, including:

· Heroin replacement drug Buprenorphine up 16.2%

· Alcohol and “home brew” up 39.2%

· Syringes and needles up 81.1%

Under questioning, the Secretary of the Department of Justice and Community Safety was unable to explain why so few cases of drug use and possession result in an offence being recorded or explain the increase in the prevalence of drugs during COVID-19.

With Victorian inmates being given a free pass on jailhouse drugs and contraband, it should be little wonder why under Daniel Andrews, Victoria is running the most expensive, yet worst performing prisons in the nation.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Corrections, David Southwick:

“With no consequences for inmates doing the wrong thing it seems the only trade booming during COVID-19 is jailhouse drugs.

“Daniel Andrews failure to keep harmful drugs out of our prisons means fewer inmates turning their lives around and more hardened criminals back on our streets.

“What hope does Labor have of rehabilitating offenders and keeping our community safe if they can’t even keep drugs out of our prisons during COVID lockdown?”

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