A jail sentence imposed on a man who tried to get drugs into Hawke's Bay Prison should send a strong message to others, its director says.
A young Hastings man was sentenced to one year and 10 months in jail after the failure of an apparent mission to lob methamphetamine, cannabis, tobacco and nicotine patches over a fence to inmates in Hawke's Bay Prison.
In sentencing John Richard Kaka in Napier District Court recently, Judge Geoff Rea was concerned with the possibility Kaka had admitted the charges because it was "his turn to take responsibility." Three others were arrested but prosecution was apparently "not being pursued".
Hawke's Bay Regional Prison director George Massingham said the sentence sent a strong message.
"If you attempt to introduce banned items you will be caught, and you will be held to account for your actions.
"Contraband of all sorts, drugs in particular, are very dangerous in a prison environment," Mr Massingham said.
"As prisoners find new ways of smuggling contraband, we find new ways to detect it. We carry out regular searches every day - on cells, mail, vehicles, visitors, the prison perimeter and prisoners themselves. Searches include those carried out by staff and the use of detection dog teams and electronic equipment."
The recent incident followed another in which a prison officer on perimeter duty with a dog discovered a car in an orchard adjacent to the prison near Hastings on July 28.
According to a summary of the facts, the officer called for police back-up as he blocked the vehicle's exit.
He was challenged by four people in the vehicle, who included Kaka, and a search uncovered 2.5g of methamphetamine, cannabis, tobacco and nicotine patches, packaged to indicate they were about to be thrown over the fence.
Kaka pleaded guilty to charges of possessing methamphetamine for supply, possessing cannabis, being unlawfully in an enclosed yard, and breaching the Corrections Act.
Judge Rea said the prison sentence was less than two years but it was an inappropriate case for the consideration of home detention.
"Introducing drugs to prison is never going to lead to a sentence of home detention," he warned.