AUCKLAND — LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Another Corrections officer has been suspended for attempting to smuggle drugs to inmates, this time in Auckland prison.
The officer’s car was searched and the drugs found on Friday in what a Corrections Department spokeswoman called “routine crime-prevention activities”.
The spokeswoman would not say how much or what type of drugs were seized, saying the intercepted contraband was being tested by ESR.
Corrections said the officer was on special leave. Police are investigating, while an “employment investigation” is also taking place.
Corrections acting assistant general manager operations Karen Unwin said she was confident the level of “inappropriate activity” by prison staff remained low.
“It’s important to keep things in perspective and not let the actions of one member of staff overshadow the hard work and dedication of our staff based in the Auckland area and around the country,” Ms Unwin said.
Last week prison staff seized a “significant” amount of drugs before they reached prisoners, though Ms Unwin did not say how much, what type or who they were seized from.
This suspension is the latest to hit the embattled department.
In May, it stood down guards at Auckland prison while it investigated whether staff were paying inmates meat for working on their cars and boats.
Another officer, tasked with investigating corruption in prisons, had allegedly got inmates to build him a mechanical spit-roast.
Earlier that month, four officers at Paremoremo Prison were suspended amid allegations they took inmates to their private homes to clean them.
Eleven staff at Rimutaka Prison, north of Wellington, were stood down in March pending investigations into corruption and smuggling, while one guard was sacked and three others suspended at Christchurch Men’s Prison in April over allegations of smuggling contraband to inmates.
Corrections Minister Damien O’Connor has previously said he did not believe corruption was widespread among the 3000 front-line prison officers.