Prisons Service to stop family visits of security prisoners at some lockups

Mulls possibility of terminating all visitation rights following attacks.

By REBECCA ANNA STOIL
October 19, 2006 22:18
1 minute read.

 
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The country's top wardens decided Thursday to freeze visitation rights at some prisons where terrorists' family members allegedly tried to murder wardens, the Prisons Service announced. Thursday's high-level meeting was called after multiple incidents in recent weeks in which wardens were attacked by Palestinian relatives of security prisoners. Some of the would-be attackers told interrogators they had planned to kill wardens. At the meeting, Prisons Service officials discussed the possibility of banning the visits. They also discussed recent attacks by prisoners in which wardens were wounded. The Prisons Service said it had foiled attempts by prisoners' relatives to smuggle blades and knives into jails in recent weeks. The Prisons Service decided on the immediate cessation of visits by family members of terrorists who are being held in prisons where recent attacks or attempted attacks had occurred, Prisons Service spokeswoman Orit Steltzer said. In the near future, the Prisons Service will more fully develop its policy to address the phenomenon, she added. Less than 24 hours before the meeting, Prisons Service officials announced that a newly-designed stab-proof vest would be being introduced for use by wardens who come in close contact with prisoners. On Monday, a terrorist's sister stabbed a prison warden at Nafha Prison in the Negev. She came from Hebron with a group of 300 visitors, all family members of terrorists. At the entrance to the visitor's area, the woman pulled a 35-centimeter knife from her dress and tried to stab the warden. Another female warden who was searching the visitors subdued her and was stabbed in her hand. All visits to the prison were immediately suspended following the incident. A similar attack was narrowly avoided less than two days later at Ofer Prison near Ramallah when wardens apprehended a terrorist's teenage brother who was smuggling Kalashnikov bullets and a large knife into the jail. The 16-year-old arrived at the prison along with his mother and sister under the pretense of visiting his brother, a Hamas member jailed for terrorist activity. As the Bethlehem resident entered the prison, wardens discovered he had bullets hidden in his clothing. They conducted a more thorough search and discovered a 30-cm. knife. The teenager told his interrogators he had intended to stab a warden, prison officials said.


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