THE smuggling of contraband into Tamworth Correctional Centre is about to become a whole lot harder.
A new visitor processing centre containing cutting-edge detection technology was officially opened yesterday.
Built using inmate labour, the facility houses a network of surveillance cameras and highly-sensitive metal detectors.
Everyone visiting family or friends on remand will be screened to ensure illicit items, such as drugs, are not brought into the prison.
The centre’s security manager, Michael Page, said the jail’s age meant that until now it was ill-equipped to screen visitors.
“The jail is around 150 years old and with these old jails, they weren’t built for visits and all these sorts of things we do now,” he said.
“When inmates re- ceived a visit from family and friends, we didn’t have the facilities to screen those visitors.
“The visits processing centre basically gives the staff a better area to work in and it gives the visitors who come into the centre a safe environment.”
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson, who had the honour of cutting the ribbon to open the building, said it was a “marvellous” facility.
“Visiting a loved one in custody can be daunting and overwhelming, but this facility will make that experience less stressful, especially for first time visitors,” he said.
Mr Page said the project had been a good opportunity for the six participating inmates to showcase skills that will assist them to find work upon their release from custody.