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Drop in contraband in SA prisons

AAP logoAAP 12/01/2017 Marnie Banger

The amount of drugs found in South Australian prisons dropped by more than half last year, despite an increase in searches to expose them.

The Department for Correctional Services says there was a 20 per cent drop in the total number of illegal items seized compared to the previous year and a 57 per cent drop in the number of drugs.

But the department says the number of some contraband items found did increase, including home-made weapons, tattooing equipment and electronics.

The overall downturn follows a tripling of prison searches in the past six years, while intelligence sharing between corrections officers and police has improved.

Correctional Services Minister Peter Malinauskas says the department's efforts to stop contraband entering prisons, including investing more in security, are working.

Mr Malinauskas says he is not surprised prisoners are bringing in "bizarre" tattooing equipment as tattoos become more fashionable in the community.

"The ingenuity that some of these prisoners can put into contraband is actually quite remarkable," he told reporters in Adelaide.

"It would be far better if they spent their time focusing on education and rehabilitating themselves and giving them skills to be able to get a job when they get out."

The department's chief executive David Brown says no prison system will ever be completely free from contraband, but SA is better off than ever.

"It's harder now than it's ever been to bring unlawful items into our prisons," he said in a statement.

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