Addict held in lock down due to overcrowded police cells

AN Oxycontin addict who refused to attend court on Wednesday had to be held in lock down for a day at the Warrnambool police cells due to overcrowding issues.

Jennifer Miller, 29, of Bridge Road, Woodford, refused to appear in the Warrnambool Magistrates court for a bail/remand hearing Wednesday morning.

She later attended court with solicitor Carolyn Howe, did not apply for bail and was remanded in custody until Monday when it is planned to release her to go directly into a detoxification centre.

Magistrate Peter Mellas said it was clear Ms Miller had an opiate addiction and she was being held in solitary confinement due to overcrowding issues in the cells.

He said he understood police had no control over the overcrowding in the cells but he was going to take that issue into account in dealing with Ms Miller.

Ms Miller was seen by a doctor on Wednesday and prescribed medication to help her deal with withdrawing from opiate-based pain medication Oxycontin.

She is a former heroin addict who is alleged to have been committing burglaries around Warrnambool to fund her drug use.

Warrnambool police were in contact with the prisoner movement service and had been assured Ms Miller was going to be moved from Warrnambool yesterday.

Issues relating to overcrowding in police station cells statewide have been ongoing for the past couple of years due to a lack of beds in Victoria's prisons.

Detective Senior Constable Elissa Smith, of the Warrnambool police crime investigation unit, told court that Miller was arrested after she surrendered herself to police at 4pm Tuesday.

She said Miller was then interviewed in relation to burglaries and thefts, made admissions, was charged and remanded in custody overnight.

Detective Senior Constable Smith said a "restricted" male prisoner in the Warrnambool police station cells had to be locked down in the female cells which resulted in Ms Miller also being placed in lock down.

It is believed the restricted prisoner is an alleged sex offender.

The detective said there were between eight and 10 prisoners in the cells which had a maximum overnight capacity of 10 people.

Detective Senior Constable Smith said Ms Miller currently had to show why she should not be held in custody after she was arrested and charged on March 3 with fraudulent clocking up bills of $2160 on her credit card.

Ms Miller was back then released on bail with conditions she live at Woodford, not contact witnesses, obey a nightly curfew and report weekly to the police station.

Detective Senior Constable Smith said Ms Miller had now admitted committing burglaries and thefts between February 27 and last Sunday.

Those break-ins involved three burglaries at Warrnambool College and another at Tower Hill, two of which were committed during curfew hours.

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