Prisoners at Capricornia Correctional Centre spent a part of Christmas afternoon in lockdown after someone attempted to drop contraband into the centre using a drone.
At about 1:45pm, a custodial correctional officer saw a drone hovering over the exercise yard of a secure unit carrying a package. The package was dropped into an exercise yard.
Officers responded by locking down the unit immediately and confiscating the contraband from a prisoner.
Shortly afterwards, a second contraband drop was made by drone in the same area. At this stage, all parts of the centre was locked down, and the package retrieved by officers.
All non-essential movements within the prison ceased for the day, and prisoners remained in lockdown while a full search of external areas of the centre was undertaken by officers, assisted by Delta Unit,
The packages have been secured as evidence and QCS is assisting CSIU in investigating the incident.
On Boxing Day the prisoner who had caught the first package reported to health staff that he had swallowed an unknown substance. He began to behave in an elevated manner, so was transported to hospital. He was returned to the centre later that day.
Deputy Commissioner Andy Beck said the incident was deeply disappointing and concerning.
“Flying a drone over a prison is an offence under the Queensland Corrections Act, as is introducing contraband into centres. People caught flying drones over Queensland prisons can be subject to prison sentences of up to two years and fines of more than $12,000.
“Prisons are highly controlled environments for a reason, and the introduction of drugs and contraband puts the safety of our officers, prisoners and visitors at risk,” Deputy Commissioner Beck said.
“The strategies our officers use to combat the introduction of drugs and other prohibited items into our centres include constant monitoring of all mail to and from the centre as well as random and targeted, intelligence led searches.
If contraband does get into the centre, intelligence handling and officer led searches are very effective in removing these items from the prison.”
Deputy Commissioner Beck said that there are both significant legal consequences for people trying to introduce drugs or other contraband into the centre, and repercussions for prisoners which include charges for possession/supply of illegal drugs and trafficking, all of which carry significant penalties.
“Those who would introduce contraband may be subject to prison sentences of up to two years imprisonment and significant fines.
“When prisoners are identified as being involved in this type of activity, it may lead to them losing access to contact visits and other privileges,” DC Beck said.
“We have a zero tolerance approach to people introducing contraband into the centre, so it is not worth the risk for either party.
In 2018 two people were sentenced to 18 months jail for attempting to introduce contraband into an SEQ prison using a drone.