Prison guard on how she deals with drug-mad lags who are sexually frustrated

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A female prison officer has offered a glimpse inside some of Australia's toughest prisons – and how drug-addled inmates have "gone crazy" and lashed out.

Liz Cunico, 27, usually works at Sydney's Long Bay, Silverwater and Francis Greenway complexes.

She and sniffer dog Alice, who have been teamed up for the past year, search every cell and try to track down any illicit substances.

The kelpie-border collie cross is trained to sniff out odours of drugs including heroin, ice, and cannabis.

Discussing her work in men’s prisons, Ms Cunico told Daily Mail Australia : “You definitely get a lot of the whistle calls and stuff like that.

“They will never say anything to your face but as soon as you walk away they'll go, ‘Oooh, she's hot’.

“They'll stand at the fence and when you walk past they'll go, ‘Oooh, look at that’.”

Some of the prisoners are resistant to drug searches and have tried to lash out at Alice.

Ms Cunico added: “They get the drugs and they just go all crazy, they put us in danger.

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“It's also scary with dogs because we get very close and personal with the inmates when we screen them. They'll try and kick it.

“If someone was to kick Alice or any dog we'd grab them straight away. If that happens, we'll drop them because no one's going to assault my dog.”

Ms Cunico has seen inmates smuggle drugs into prisons using children’s hair ties, tents balls, prams, and pens with hidden syringes.

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Inmates typically avoid cannabis because of the smell, and put out food or use soap to tray and conceal odours.

Ms Cunico currently lives with Alice and the pair “just adore each other”.

Back in December, a prison officer who tried to smuggle crack cocaine into prison in her underwear had her three-year jail term increased at the Court of Appeal.

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Hannah Gaves, 27, was stopped on her way to work at HMP Erlestoke in Wiltshire in January 2019 with cannabis and five packets of tobacco, as well as six grams of 81%-pure crack cocaine in her underwear.

She pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply a Class A and a Class B drug and attempting to bring tobacco into the prison.

Gaves, of Butlers Close, Bristol, was sentenced to three years in prison at Salisbury Crown Court in August 2020, but her sentence was referred to the Court of Appeal by the Solicitor General, Michael Ellis, as being unduly lenient.

Following a hearing in London, Gaves' sentence was increased to four years and eight months in jail.

  • Crime

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