Intoxicated prisoners, drunk on primitive moonshine

By ~lostgurl~ · May 21, 2006 · ·
  1. ~lostgurl~
    A T I O N A New Zealand - Sunday Star Times

    Drunken prisoners give jails headache

    21 May 2006 [​IMG]By TIM HUME

    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, MS Sans Serif]Intoxicated prisoners, drunk on primitive moonshine brewed from potato peelings, Vegemite or even jam sandwiches, are proving a problem for prison authorities.[/FONT]

    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, MS Sans Serif]Figures obtained under the Official Information Act show that 92 illegal batches of alcohol, known in jail slang as homebrew or hooch, were discovered in prisons last year. Seventy-five batches were found in 2003 and 82 in 2004. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, MS Sans Serif]Drunken inmates have assaulted other prisoners and created disturbances requiring entire prisons to be placed on lockdown. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, MS Sans Serif]"This sort of stuff can make you quite violent and aggressive, it's dangerous in a prison setting," said Corrections national systems and security manager Karen Urwin. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, MS Sans Serif]"That's why we take the issue of home brew so seriously." [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, MS Sans Serif]Urwin said making alcohol was an easy process which required only sugar, water, a container, a warm hiding place and an item of food. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, MS Sans Serif]"(They'll use) potato skins, scraps out of the kitchen, fruit -they'll even make it out of a jam sandwich," she said. [/FONT]

    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, MS Sans Serif]"It's not a sophisticated process, it's something most of them contemplate giving a go at some stage. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, MS Sans Serif]"The homebrew we're talking about bears more resemblance to toxic ginger beer - it's certainly nothing you or I would drink." [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, MS Sans Serif]Prisoners used soft drink bottles, cleaning product containers or rubbish bins in which to brew the moonshine. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, MS Sans Serif]The batches were often secreted in work areas near heaters, or, in the warmer climates of Northland, buried in vegetable patches. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, MS Sans Serif]The brew took only a few days to ferment and produce alcohol. "As soon as it starts to fizz, they're off," said Urwin. "Obviously the longer it's left, the higher the alcohol content." [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, MS Sans Serif]Urwin said the brews were often group projects and prisoners each contributed ingredients. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, MS Sans Serif]"If they're in a kitchen gang or garden gang, 9 times out of 10, they're all in on it. One person's managed to get the sugar, one person's got the potato peelings." [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, MS Sans Serif]Brew was often used as a form of currency in prison. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, MS Sans Serif]Urwin said the secret batches were often detected because of their "pungent, yeasty" smell, through tip-offs from prison informants, or by the behaviour of intoxicated prisoners. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, MS Sans Serif]"In a prison setting, if you drink you'll stand out a mile," she said. "It's pretty difficult to fly under the radar." [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, MS Sans Serif]Corrections said it was unable to provide the number of prisoners caught under the influence of alcohol last year, because the information was held on local misconduct registers and would require extensive manual collation. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, MS Sans Serif]Prisoners who were drunk or found to be involved in producing alcohol would be charged with misconduct and faced being confined to their cells or forfeiting earnings for up to a week, or losing privileges for up to a month. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, MS Sans Serif]Drunken prisoners were referred to nurses for examinations. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, MS Sans Serif]"This stuff's obviously not good for you," said Urwin. "We don't know how strong the alcohol is or what bacteria is in it." [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, MS Sans Serif]Homebrew became more of an issue around Christmas and the New Year, said Urwin. The most batches of brew were found last year at Rimutaka (14), Christchurch (13) and Wanganui (12) prisons. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, MS Sans Serif]Urwin said prison authorities had become better at detecting contraband since the beefing up of perimeter security. [/FONT]


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  1. mopsie
    good article
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