Irish prisons battle plague of drone deliveries of contraband

Irish prisons drone delivery

Add Ireland to the list. Like a growing number of countries around the globe, Irish authorities say they’re now working to detect and thwart drone deliveries of contraband to the nation’s prisons, and have introduced anti-UAV technology into jails as a part of that.

The spiking use of drones to deliver an array of banned items for black-market resale in jails has been observed in Canada, the US, Latin America, Europe, and the UK, so it’s not surprising that similar deployment has become a concern to the Irish Prison Service as well. Yet despite Ireland’s strengthening reputation as a rising center of broader tech activity, the scale of that UAV repurposing for illegal trafficking into the country’s penitentiaries is somewhat eye-catching.

ReadDrone delivery activity booming to global… prison inmates 

At least seven drones were reportedly found or otherwise confiscated on the grounds of Irish prisons in recent years, presumably after making deliveries of contraband or stashing for future shuttles. Evidence suggests that aerial flow of banned materials has continued since. 

According to the Irish Prison Service’s annual report for 2021, 1,369 mobile phones, 292 weapons, and 1,518 quantities of various drugs were among the prohibited items seized in the nation’s jails last year – a healthy portion of that has thought to have been delivered by drones. 

Those figures might not sound overwhelming for a major global economy and modern society facing the same kinds of criminal activity all Western nations do. But with a relatively small prison population of 4,187, that abundance of contraband unearthed in Irish prisons suggests a oversize flow of drones deliveries.

In response to that, Irish Prison Service says anti-UAV tech has been installed in several of the nation’s jails to battle the influx.

“The roll out of the Anti-Drone Technology was extended to six prisons in total in 2021,” the administration’s annual report says. “The Irish Prison Service saw significant seizures of contraband in prisons across the estate in 2021, with the number of seizures of illegal drugs and mobile phones being double the rate from

ReadBill expanding drone use by Ireland’s police expected later this year 

The report also notes that, due to reduced visitation under COVID-19 restrictions, efforts to introduce banned material into jails reverted to external, low-tech attempts of yore – such as chucking parcels over jail walls and legging it before being caught. But Irish prison officials cited in media reports say the success of drones in making deliveries of prohibited loot has fueled the rise of such flights for years now. 

But installation of anti-UAV systems may be changing that, the report adds, saying the tech “has assisted the interceptions of contraband in a number of areas.”

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