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An inmate in an orange jump suit stands with his resting between jail bars. His arms are covered in tattoos.

Special Delivery at Grande Cache Institute

Someone's probably pretty mad that their package got intercepted

Located west of Edmonton, the Grande Cache Institute (GCI) is a minimum to medium security prison.

On September 2, 2022, Christmas came early for the GCI. At 6:25 in the morning, workers at the prison discovered a package on the perimeter of the prison grounds. 

But the suspicious gift was clearly intended for someone on the naughty list. The package contained almost half a million dollars worth of contraband. 

Contraband in the package included 402 grams of cannabis concentrate, also known as “shatter.” There were also cell phones, chargers, and SIM cards in the mix. 

This isn’t the first time the GCI has seized a package of contraband. 

In December of last year, the facility confiscated more than $100,000 worth of shatter, cell phones, SIM cards, and tobacco. 

Maybe someone tried to repeat that delivery?

While GCI may not be a maximum-security prison, it still uses many tools to keep contraband from getting in.

These tools include ion scanners and drug-detector dogs. Buildings, personal belongings, inmates, and visitors are all frequently searched for contraband.

But GCI isn’t the only facility dealing with contraband. Even Alberta’s maximum-security prisons are having a tough time managing things. 

On May 10, 2022, the Edmonton Institution seized over $700,000 of shatter, fentanyl, stabbing weapons, cell phones, SIM cards, chargers, and methamphetamines.

If Alberta’s inmates have proven anything, it’s that if there’s a will, there’s a way. No matter how many contraband seizures the province makes, drugs are still finding their way to inmates. 

Even if Alberta was able to cut off the flow of drugs into prisons, there’s an even bigger problem the province needs to address.


Hundreds of inmates overdose in prisons across the province. It is very clear that Alberta needs better harm reduction programs.

This includes opiate substitution therapy and training inmates to use naloxone kits, which are used to reverse overdoses. These are human beings who are serving their time and they need care just like the rest of us.

Without better treatment, inmates who are addicted to substances will find a way to get their hands on contraband. And no one can get better and go back to society if they’ve died.

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