Tag Archives: contraband

Florida Department of Corrections ends cigarette ban in work camps: smoke em if you got em

I think this is what’s known as the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” philosophy of corrections…

From the article: “Department of Corrections officials say they lifted the prohibition on tobacco-related products in the work release programs because they didn’t want prisoners so close to completing their sentences to have to go back behind bars for breaking the rules.”

Read the article here.
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Ohio prison system sees spike in contraband cell phones behind bars

From the article: “State prison records show that for the first seven months of this year, corrections officers have seized 319 cell phones from inmates at the state’s 28 prisons. Guards found 340 all of last year, the records show. The phones nabbed this year mark a 153 percent spike over the 126 recovered in 2010.”

Read more here.

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NZ: Prison smoking ban ruled ‘unlawful’

According to the article, this is the second appeal – both successful – of New Zealand’s prison system’s attempt to restrict smoking.  In this latest judgment, the judge reportedly found that “forcing prisoners into nicotine withdrawal is not humane.”

Further:

“…sentences must not be administered more restrictively than is reasonably necessary to ensure the maintenance of the law and the safety of the public, corrections staff, and prisoners. Depriving prisoners of tobacco, an otherwise lawful substance, is too restrictive.”

The result?  The corrections system is still going to be smoke-free, but inmates reprimanded for breaching the ban could receive compensation.

Read more here.

I’ve got to say that I do not agree with this.  Ohio has banned tobacco in its prisons (for both inmates and staff) for several years now.  Prior to the ban, you would have non-smoking inmates complaining about the amount of smoke and the very real threat posed by secondhand smoke.  I have far more sympathy for those inmates than others who are purposefully engaging in self-injurious behavior via tobacco inhalation.

That’s not to say that the ban has not caused problems.  Despite the ban, tobacco continues to be smuggled into the prison like any contraband, but now inmates and staff can sell it for exorbitant black market prices.  Staff spend a large amount of time tracking down contraband that is otherwise legal on the street.  And inmates have said that nicotine withdrawal contributes to violence and/or that having tobacco reinstated would reduce violence.

I still think that the longterm healthcare costs incurred by tobacco use – which the state would have to pay – outweigh the desire to feed a nicotine addiction, which is both harmful and expensive.  Better for people to spend the time in prison kicking the habit for when they are released.

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UK: Lewes Prison hooch problem prompts fresh fruit clampdown

From the article: “Fruit portions were reduced and other products that could be used – including five-litre cleaning containers used to make the hooch – were either removed or moved away from inmates.”

We have done the same thing in Ohio.  We were recently under a consent decree relating to the medical care of inmates that required fresh fruit to be served with meals.  However, staff have said that some fruit is easier to make hooch from than others (oranges, for example, are easy; bananas, less so).  Some institutions cut up the fruit so it is more difficult to carry away from the chow hall; others have ramped up searches of inmates when they leave the chow hall.  Some institutions have also taken a close look at the containers used to make the hooch and tried to more closely regulate those.  Across the system, institutions have also moved from selling sugar to providing only sugar substitute.  It’s pretty much an ongoing battle, though.

Read more about the UK jail here.

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OH: Inmate died of heroin overdose

The inmate died of a heroin overdose while he was incarcerated in the Hamilton County (Cincinnati) Justice Center.

Staff response:

“Do we know how Mr. Barton got his drugs? Nope. That’s what we’re working on,” said Jim Knapp, spokesman for the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office. “But it is a jail and we have criminals here.”

Excellent investigative finding.

Read more here.

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Canada: Inmate dies of drug overdose, inquest hears

From the article: “Baxter suspects the drugs that killed Fawcett were smuggled into Niagara Detention Centre, hidden in the one place where guards “are not allowed to search.” He said people sometimes use small plastic containers to hold drugs, and hide them in their rectum.”

Read more here.

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GA: Inmate accused of planning violent crimes in prison

From the article: “Channel 2 Action News has discovered a Georgia prison inmate serving six life sentences for planning violent robberies from inside prison could be back at it again.”

And this, kids, is why cellphones in prisons are dangerous.

What does the department have to say?

“The Department aggressively works to prevent contraband from entering our facilities. The Department actively conducts searches inmate cells and prison property through the use of Tactical Squads. All facilities are equipped with CellSense devices which aides in the detection of illegal cell phones.”

Hmmm….how’s that been working out for you?

Read the article here.

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LA: Possible crimes in shocking inmate prison videos ‘concerning’ to Orleans DA Cannizzaro, spokesman says

From the article: “Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro cast doubt through a spokesman on Friday over Sheriff Marlin Gusman‘s internal response to salacious videos from 2009 showing inmates cavorting with drugs, a loaded gun and beer inside the now-closed House of Detention, and one inmate bounding around the French Quarter.”

Read more here.

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GA: Temporary repairs made to faulty Ga. prison locks

Holy smokes.  At this prison, three inmates were killed within a six week period.  Officials have reportedly confiscated over 200 shanks and 140 cellphones since January.  Now they’re making “temporary repairs” to fix “hundreds of broken locks.”  Is it just me, or isn’t prison a place where you’re supposed to be able to lock people up?  And how about some permanent repairs?

…at least no one has to worry that the inmates won’t be able to call for help if a riot happens.

Read the article here.

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IA: Dept. of Corrections, union at odds over prison security breach

From the article: “In a release issued Thursday, Scaletta said the “restricted movement” status was necessary because a “line staff member” brought contraband into the unit. “Dedicated and professional correctional staff, at all levels, have been shaking down the prison to account for the inappropriate items that have been brought into the prison,” Scaletta said in a written statement Thursday. “An investigation into this matter is currently being conducted. The employee is on administrative leave.'”

Unfortunately, it does not say what the “inappropriate items” actually were.

Read the article here.

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