By Kim Vinnell
Alarming new footage has emerged from inside Mt Eden prison in Auckland.
A prisoner contacted 3 News using a cellphone inside and went on to send footage showing inmates apparently stealing guards' equipment, smoking, drugs and drinking.
It follows the revelation of organised fight clubs and claims that guards simply turn a blind eye.
An inmate told 3 News in Mt Eden Prison drugs are easy to come by, and that often it's the prisoners who run the show.
Homemade alcohol also appears readily available, lending a party-like, rather than prison-like, atmosphere.
Yesterday it was revealed organised fight clubs are also part of prison life – one minute rounds and a three knockdown rule without a guard in sight.
We spoke to a Mt Eden prison guard, known as John, who said it got so bad he decided to quit.
"They [guards] know; they definitely know. It's just a matter of just hearing the same story," he said.
"We tell them we're short-staffed. We don't talk about it in meetings, because that staff member is going to be in trouble for not reporting it."
The culture of not reporting he says has been there since day one.
The Corrections Association is keen to point out it's not the guards who are to blame here. It says the finger should be firmly pointed at Serco and it what it calls poor management.
The new footage was sent to 3 News from the prison on the same day Serco and the Department of Corrections said there would be a clampdown on contraband. Both say the new footage will be included in a review by the Chief Inspector of Corrections.
Allegations that cost-cutting could be putting lives at risk are no doubt becoming harder to ignore.