Prisoners busted over Santa cell banner

LOUISE BERWICK
Last updated 05:00 26/12/2013
Southland Times photo
NEIL RATLEY/Fairfax NZ

This banner was hung between cells at the Invercargill Prison on Christmas Eve.

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Invercargill Prison inmates left their wishlist out for Santa on Christmas Eve.

But their fun was stopped when prison guards found their sign dangling down the side of the prison and attracting attention from the public.

Several inmates made a sign, which reached across two prison cells, saying "tits out girls".

The banner, which looked to be made from sheets and a red liquid, caused cars to pull over as people stared.

The Department of Corrections, however, did not find the stunt amusing.

A spokesman for the department said yesterday the incident was being reviewed and disciplinary action would be considered.

When first contacted, the department knew nothing about the event and suggested that it had not happened. The department later said it did not condone the behaviour.

The banner was removed as soon as staff were made aware.

The spokesman said the department was unable to say what the banner was made out of or how it was put on the building. "Staff will review this incident and a decision will be made on any disciplinary actions in due course."

In 2011 the prisoners did not even have to ask - a woman took off her bra outside the prison and draped it on the prison fence.

Acting Senior Sergeant Wing-wah Ng, of Invercargill, said while incidents of women pulling up their shirts were not common, police did go to the prison for those sorts of incidents from time to time.

The incident comes just months after a 20-year-old Invercargill inmate appeared in court after spying on a neighbour from his cell window.

The inmate could see her from his prison cell window and sent her a letter threatening to rape her and stab her partner in the neck with a rusty, used needle.

Judge Michael Turner sentenced Logan Shaun Kelly to 32 months' jail for burglary, injuring with intent to injure and two charges of knowingly writing a letter containing a threat to do grievous bodily harm, all on March 7 and April 7.

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