| 17.05,09. 01:36 AM |
Contraband - must-have items for life behind bars
A PRISON guard has thwarted an escape plot by a murderer who spent his nights braiding a 15m rope out of clothing material.
The 38-year-old is now in segregation in Goulburn's maximum security prison after a guard found the rope secreted in the inmate's mattress, along with an iron bar, during a routine cell check.
The inmate is believed to have stolen the material - cloth used to make the collars for inmate T-shirts - from the prison industries workshop, where he was allowed to work.
Details of the escape plot have emerged as the State Government revealed that 1038 prison visitors have been banned over the past 17 months after being found trying to smuggle contraband into jails. Of those caught, 176 people were charged.
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Among other contraband seized were guns, knives, fake identification papers, drugs, alcohol and cash.
Prisons Minister John Robertson said almost 6000 visitors were screened by drug detection dogs in the first two months of the year as the Government tried to stop drugs from getting into jails. Not only do the guards find drugs such as heroin, cannabis and ecstasy but needles, syringes and deal bags and electronic scales. Mobile phones are also a popular item to be smuggled in.
"A few weeks ago we had a mother trying to smuggle syringes in her pram and the day before that a man was caught with five separate balloons of illicit drugs smuggled in his mouth," Mr Robertson said.
"Other attempts this year include a woman with a mobile phone in her underwear and several attempts to leave contraband items in bins and bathrooms."