Nfld. & Labrador

Internal reports reveal how contraband gets smuggled into St. John's prison

Pills inserted in a Kinder Surprise egg and painkillers inside a bogus letter from a lawyer.
Internal reports say contraband items are being intercepted at Her Majesty's Penitentiary in St. John's three or four times a week. (CBC)

Pills inserted in a Kinder Surprise egg and painkillers inside a bogus letter from a lawyer.

That's just a sampling of some of the methods being used to smuggle contraband inside Her Majesty's Penitentiary in St. John's.

Internal reports obtained by CBC News covering a three-month period show that contraband is regularly making it inside the facility where people and goods are supposed to be carefully screened.

Guards are seizing drugs, tobacco and weapons three or four times a week.
    
Sometimes it's homemade weapons, but mostly it's drugs.

Pills are the most common, since they are small and easier to hide.

"The demand is there because a lot of people inside the prison do have a substance abuse problem," said assistant superintendent Owen Brophy.

Typically, the price for drugs inside the prison is three times more than drugs sold on the street.

Homebrew and shanks

Guards are also seizing homebrew, which is not complicated to make. All it takes is any kind of fruit or other food and some kind of container.

Owen Brophy is the assistant superintendent at Her Majesty's Penitentiary in St. John's. (CBC)

"They'll put it in a bottle, could be a shampoo bottle or something, to try and keep it there for a couple days," said Brophy.

He said the weapons are also homemade.
    
Inmates will make shanks out of materials they find around the prison.

One internal report said drugs were mailed in an envelope that looked like it was from a lawyer, but guards became suspicious because the words "solicitor-client privilege" were spelled wrong, and the labels were glued on.

Inside was a patch containing painkillers. 

Pills were also found inside a Kinder Surprise, a chocolate egg with a small toy inside.

Brophy wouldn't elaborate on how inmates are getting contraband items past security.

"That would be a security breach which could be a safety concern for staff," he said.

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