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House backs tougher prison smuggling law

MPs approved a bill meant to toughen control and penalties for importing contraband items into the Island’s prisons.

The list of contraband items includes cell phones, controlled drugs, firearms including imitation firearms and offensive weapons.

The Prison Amendment Act 2013 increased prison terms from six to 12 months and increase fines from $500 to $2,000.

“With this Bill, Mr Speaker, this Government targets those persons who would treat a sentence of imprisonment as no barrier to their illegal activities,” Public Safety Minister Michael Dunkley said.

He continued: “Much of the focus of this Bill has rightly been on cell phones in prison. It is a reality of prison life in Bermuda that the demand for contact with the outside world is often satisfied by a few individuals’ regrettable conduct.

“Mr Speaker, I cannot emphasise it enough: a cell phone in the hands of an inmate is a weapon, as dangerous as any knife or gun.

“The seriousness of these facts is demonstrated in this Bill’s creation of a specific offence of conveying prohibited high risk articles into any prison. Mr Speaker, Honourable Members are urged to note that the language of the Bill is quite deliberate: any person who conveys a prohibited high risk article into a prison commits an offence; any person, Mr Speaker.”

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Published June 04, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated June 03, 2013 at 11:35 pm)

House backs tougher prison smuggling law

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