Drug Screening, Contraband Detection Equipment Donated To HMP

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August 28, 2012

An estimated 80 percent of new inmates enter Her Majesty's Prisons (HMP) with some form of illegal substance in their system, noted HMP's Director of Information Technology Doan Cleare during a press conference yesterday at the prison. HMP Superintendent Dr. Elliston Rahming told reporters that in the past, when inmates were tested for illegal substances, obtaining the results took time as the tests had to be sent to a laboratory. However, new drug screening equipment, as well as contraband detection equipment donated by the United States Embassy yesterday, should eliminate that problem.

The state-of-the-art equipment, valued at $50,000, included a three-zoned body scanner used to detect weapons concealed by inmates, and a Dip Device Drug Screening Kit used for on-site drug screening. Cleare said the most prominent substance found in inmates' systems is marijuana. "Once an inmate arrives at the prison they are asked to pass urine. We test that and in about five seconds the results for cocaine, marijuana, LSD etc. comes up," Cleare said.

"So it is a very quick drug detection device [and this applies] to existing inmates also." The U.S. Embassy also donated two specialized signal detectors that can detect illicit listening devices, cell phones and other electronic devices. Rahming said that the unauthorized use of cell phones within the facility poses a serious threat. He estimated that around 20 cell phones are confiscated from inmates each week.

In June, National Security Minister Dr. Bernard Nottage said a relatively small group of highly-organized rouge prison officers were supplying inmates with contraband, adding that the emergence of gang activity within the prison was also a major concern. At the time, Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis suggested that the government create a task force to tackle corruption and the emergence of gangs at HMP.

When asked yesterday whether the suggestion is being considered, Nottage responded that a task force will not be necessary. "I think that the prison's management is fully aware of the incidents of gangs in the country and fully aware of when we have persons in the prison who are in the gang leadership in the country," Nottage said.

"I think that our officers are fully aware of the chances that there may be gang members among our prison population, and they take the necessary steps to ensure that there is minimum adversarial interaction between them." As part of the U.S. Embassy's donation, 12 prison officers will receive training next week Wednesday on the proper use of the equipment, which will be installed as of Friday, Rahming said.

Click here to read more at The Nassau Guardian

News date : 08/28/2012    Category : Crime, Nassau Guardian Stories

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