Guns behind bars

Kyla Herrmannsen

Earlier this week Pretoria News reported that a gun had been found in a cell at a maximum security prison.

The gun is believed to have been smuggled in to Baviaanspoort Maximum Correctional Facility in Pretoria over the weekend.

Recounting the event, Gauteng Correctional Services spokesman Ofentse Morwane said in a statement, “Acting on a tip-off, officials of the Department of Correctional Services, working with other external security agencies, launched an immediate search operation and a .38 special revolver was discovered in one of the cells.”

While guns being present in prisons may seem counter-intuitive and near impossible due to stringent security checks, firearms are actually found alarmingly often in correctional centres worldwide.

Read below for accounts of firearms that have been found behind bars over the last few years across the globe:

Authorities have found more than 100 firearms, including rifles and submachine guns, in a Venezuelan prison where nearly 60 people died in rioting last month.

“It took security forces two days to regain full control of the Uribana prison in northwestern Venezuela after the prison brawl, which brutally underscored the crowded and violent conditions in the country’s jails. The arsenal included 27 revolvers, five shotguns, 62 pistols, four submachine guns and 12 grenades, prisons minister Iris Varela said at a press conference on Thursday.”

Mexico High-Security Prison Staff Find Grenades and AK-47 Cache

“Scores of weapons including machine guns and grenades have been found at a high-security prison in Mexico.

The discovery was made as 300 prisoners were being transferred from three state detention facilities in Chihuahua state to other prisons. Most of the weapons were found at a prison in Ciudad Juarez. Ammunition and mobile phones were also confiscated.

“Seven rifles were discovered, among them AK-47s, and some magazines and drum magazines,” said Eduardo Guerrero, Chihuahua state prosecutor.

“We’ve also confiscated 10 handguns of various calibres as well as 19 improvised shotguns, 14 magazines, 2,136 rounds of ammunition, three grenades, 422 sharp weapons and 76 cellphones,” he added.”

Gun found in inmate’s cell believed to have been hidden in rectum

“After Michael Leon Ward was arrested, strip-searched, and locked up in a North Carolina county jail, prison officials located a gun in his cell the next day. Authorities believe the gun was in his rectum when he was processed.”

Long-rumored gun found behind Pontiac prison wall

“Since the late 1990s, there’s been a much-whispered rumor that a handgun was smuggled into Pontiac Correctional Center, a myth told behind the walls of the maximum-security prison.

That changed last Thursday when, checking out yet another tip about the rumored handgun, prison workers cut through a concrete wall and found it, covered in mortar, dirt and debris, Department of Corrections spokesman Tom Shaer said Monday.

Prison officials believe the gun was smuggled into the central Illinois prison by someone visiting in 1996, and tips from former inmates and others have led to numerous searches, Shaer said.”

Fake gun found in Lewes Prison cell

“A security alert was launched at a prison after a gun was found in a cell during a raid.

Officers at Lewes Prison stormed two cells and uncovered an imitation gun made from a cigarette lighter case and matches.

The officers launched |the search following a tip-off that an inmate might be plotting to use the gun to threaten staff in a breakout attempt.”

Misplaced gun found at high-security prison

“A semi-automatic pistol that went missing four days ago from a high-security prison in north Queensland has been found.

The Glock pistol was reported missing from the Lotus Glen Correctional Centre, west of Cairns, on Friday during a routine check of a locked armoury cabinet.

The jail went into lockdown with prisoner cells, staff areas and staff lockers searched.

Corrective Services said the gun was found about 12.30pm today in a package in an area of the jail that could not be accessed by prisoners.

The jail has now returned to normal operations.”

Gun and three bullets found on prisoner entering Strangeways prison

“A gun and three bullets have been found on a prisoner entering Strangeways jail.

Prison officers made the discovery in property belonging to the man – who had been handed over from police custody – in the reception area of HMP Manchester

One of the three rifle bullets was live ammunition, the Prison Service confirmed.



About witsjusticeproject
The Wits Justice Project combines journalism, advocacy, law and education to make the criminal justice system work better for all.

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