Corrupt prison

Massive security flaws found at UK jail as prisoner films

Serious lapses in prison security were uncovered after an inmate secretly recorded jail life on his mobile phone and sent it to a news network.

An investigation found serious lapses of security at the English prison, including drug dealing and banned mobile phone use.

The probe was sparked at Oxfordshire's Bullingdon prison, 96kms northwest of London, after a mobile phone was purchased from a corrupt prison warden for £350 ($555).

Prisoner Michael Long secretly filmed life inside the jail for several weeks and emailed the footage to Sky News using the phone's internet connection.

The pictures showed poor prison security, the ease with which illegal drugs were conveyed into the jail and a lack of training and rehabilitation of prisoners before release.

Long even filmed himself passing through three security checks inside the prison without his phone being discovered.

Other clips showed a parcel of drugs thrown over the prison wall being reeled into a cell by inmates and prisoners planning crimes to commit upon their release.

He also arranged a meeting between a prisoner who was left unsupervised in the prison's parking lot and reporters, who handed the prisoner some tobacco and lotion.

Later pictures showed the items inside the prison.

Long, who said he hoped to raise awareness about the lack of rehabilitation facilities for offenders in Bullingdon, said: "Where's the rehabilitation? There's no training courses in this prison. I've been here a year, and all I've done is lie in bed.

"I need to be trained. I need to have some skills, so when I come out I can get a job. I don't want to go back to crime, but they're not teaching me anything in here."

A spokesman from the Ministry of Justice said that: "the Prison Service has a rigorous strategy to minimise the number of mobile phones entering prisons, find phones that are smuggled in and disrupt those phones that cannot be found.

"This includes the introduction of legislation making it a criminal offense to use or possess a [mobile] phone in prison."

The spokesperson added that: "measures have been taken to disrupt the supply of contraband into prisons, including the installation of wire netting to prevent items being thrown over walls and the sealing of windows to prevent prisoners 'fishing' for packages."

Long is serving four years for his part in an operation to steal luxury Bentley cars worth £375,000.

(Published by The Australian - December 6, 2010)

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