A ‘HOOCH pooch’ has sniffed out more than 50 litres of illicit alcohol brewed by inmates at Jurby jail since it was introduced eight months ago.
Home Affairs Minister Juan Watterson was quizzed in the House of Keys about what steps were being take to rehabilitate prisoners convicted of drug or alcohol-related offences.
Mr Watterson confirmed that of the 85 prisoners currently detained in the Isle of Man Prison, 34 were in custody for drug-related offences and two for known alcohol associated crimes. But he added that a large number of prisoners are in custody for assaults and other violence, whose offences were probably drug or alcohol related.
The Minister told MHKs: ‘Prisoners do not have direct access to drugs, unless prescribed, but drugs will invariably find their way in by secreting them in body orifices. Again, alcohol is not readily available, but prisoners do make their own hooch. The prison has detection dogs available to combat this.’
Laurence Skelly (Rushen) suggested there are many crimes not directly attributed to drugs and alcohol, such as violence fuelled by drugs and alcohol, or burglary where addicts are committing a crime to feed their habit – and therefore, drugs and alcohol are the ‘number one reason for crime on the Isle of Man’. Mr Watterson agreed that drugs and alcohol are a ‘significant cause of crime’ in the island.
Kate Beecroft (Lib Van, Douglas South) said it seemed ‘incredible’ that although there are only 85 inmates, the prison authorities were powerless to stop them making illicit alcohol. ‘How do they actually make this hooch that it is so undetectable?’ she asked.
The Minister replied: ‘Without giving away too many tips and tricks, it is remarkably easy to make illicit alcohol in the prison and some of it has been as high as 7½ per cent alcohol. It can be done anywhere where you can contain liquid and hide it out of sight – everywhere from toilet cisterns and places like that. It is the most unpleasant business that I can think of, but there are ways of doing it and that is why we have introduced the dog.’
This prompted one wag to suggest the term ‘hooch pooch’. ‘The hooch pooch as it is colloquially known can detect illicit alcohol in the prison to great effect. From memory, I think over 50 litres of illicit alcohol has been recovered since the dog was introduced in July of last year,’ continued Mr Watterson.
He said the average cost per prisoner of keeping an inmate at Jurby is £58,779, although 80 per cent of that cost was on fixed overheads. Mr Skelly suggested the best way to reduce that budget was to cut levels of re-offending. Mr Watterson said prevention was showing results and the prison population had fallen from about 150 at the old Victoria Road jail to the current 85. ‘I am hoping that is a long-term progression and not some sort of blip,’
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Isle of Man
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 24 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 6 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 32 mph
Wind direction: North west