Hanker­ings from be­hind bars re­fused

The Coffs Coast Advocate - - NEWS -

HOT chips, ice cream and chilli sauce are among the most pop­u­lar items re­quested by in­mates that have been re­fused in the past two years by Cor­rec­tive Ser­vices NSW.

The state’s 13,000 male and fe­male in­mates can re­quest items be added to prison gro­cery “buy-ups” list, but food and goods deemed un­safe or in­ap­pro­pri­ate are knocked back. CSNSW Com­mis­sioner Peter Severin said in­mates’ re­quests were thor­oughly vet­ted by Cor­rec­tive Ser­vices In­dus­tries staff, prison gover­nors and the se­cu­rity and in­tel­li­gence unit.

“Any item deemed a se­cu­rity risk will not be ap­proved to en­sure the safety of our cor­rec­tional cen­tres,” Mr Severin said. “In­mates also earn the priv­i­lege to pur­chase items, so prison staff can re­strict or ban an in­mate’s ac­cess to the gro­cery ser­vice as pun­ish­ment for poor be­hav­iour or breaches of reg­u­la­tions.”

About 100 item re­quests have been re­jected in the past two years, with the most pop­u­lar in­clud­ing:

● Ice cream (in­ap­pro­pri­ate and stor­age is­sues)

● Frozen hot chips (in­ap­pro­pri­ate and stor­age is­sues)

● Hot chilli sauce and spices in­clud­ing turmeric, pa­prika, curry and gin­ger (se­cu­rity risk)

● Raw sugar (se­cu­rity risk – con­tent can be used to make jail brew)

● Roll-on de­odor­ant (con­tra­band risk)

● Gravy pow­der, may­on­naise and braised steak and onions in a tin (slow sales) Cor­rec­tive Ser­vices In­dus­tries group direc­tor Steve Thorpe said the buy-ups scheme was based on a full cost-re­cov­ery model so it was cost neu­tral for the NSW tax­payer. “Sim­i­lar sys­tems ex­ist in pris­ons world­wide and prof­its from the scheme go back into prison op­er­a­tions,” Mr Thorpe said. “The goods are X-rayed by staff and sent to each in­mate in clear plas­tic bags.”

The buy-ups list al­lows in­mates to buy ba­sic gro­cery items us­ing their wages or money de­posited in their ac­count by fam­i­lies and friends. In­mates’ weekly wages range from $24.60 to $70.55. They can spend up to $100 per week on a range of food items and $150 per month on other items, such as cloth­ing and toi­letries.

The av­er­age weekly spend is about $52.

Photo: con­trib­uted

WISH LIST: The state’s 13,000 male and fe­male in­mates can re­quest items be added to the prison gro­cery “buy-ups” list.

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