Northward prison continues its tough stance on drugs, weapons, and other contraband items. Prisons Director Neil Lavis told Cayman 27 high-tech intelligence tools like drones are helping secure the prison’s perimeter, while inside its walls, a new unit is planned to curb the demand for drugs by helping inmates kick the habit.
Mr. Lavis credited his staff in recent successes stemming the tide of contraband into Northward prison.
“There are drugs in society, so if they’re out there, we’re the same, we’re not immune to that,” said Mr. Lavis.
On 5 March, a woman was arrested after prison officers caught her smuggling ganja, almost a pound in total, into the facility. The same day, a cellphone was confiscated from an inmate in a prison shakedown. Back in February, prison officers apprehended a man they caught tossing several pounds of pot over the prison fence.
“People are inventive,”said Mr. Lavis. “Desperate people do desperate things and if we are finding these drugs, then they will try and find more inventive ways to bring those in.”
He said the prison is using technology to stay a step ahead of smugglers and keep its staff safe.
“The benefit is you can get somebody out there, you get the drone up there, it gives us eyes that can see what’s going on safely, and then we can contact police or deploy staff safely, we can assess the situation.’
Mr. Lavis said in addition to his efforts to thwart the supply side of the drug equation, plans are in place to curb the demand for drugs inside prison walls.
“What we are trying to do is set up this sterile area where people can go and hopefully give them that support to break the cycle,” he said.
He told Cayman 27 the prison’s new mandatory drug testing programme identifies users, who are then offered resources to help kick the habit on this special prison wing.
“It will be an element of self policing, they will be like a community in there,” he said. “No one understands the struggle of coming off of drugs than a rehabilitated drug user, there will be peer support.”
Mr. Lavis said setting up the drug-free therapeutic support wing is in its early stages.
He said prison staffers will undergo training with the National Drug Council, and that the wing could come online in a matter of months.