As a corrections officer in one of the most dangerous prisons in the country, I can tell you first hand that drugs in the hands of the inmates is a bad mix. These inmates are dangerous enough because they outnumber us 4:1, but now add into the mix they are under the influence and stronger than normal, you can see how volatile things can get in the blink of an eye. We already had an instance where an inmate tried heroin in his cell for the first time and became so violent that it took over six guards to even get him to the ground. This is not the type of things we like to deal with because it puts our team in immediate danger.
On any given day, me and my team will stand in the visitors center and do full body inspections to anyone wanting to see the inmates. Even with an x-ray machine and searching visitors by hand, these inmates have developed ways to get the drugs they need. There are visitors who will risk time in jail to do whatever the inmates ask, and that is very challenging for a small staff to stay on top of every single day.
Surprise cell inspections often result in us finding the things that get past the visitor checkpoints, but we need to do more. We bring in the drug dogs to the cells, but we have discovered that the inmates have found places all around the jail to hide their drugs, and the problem is now compounded because even if we do find it, we can not pin it to a certain individual.
The day the prison informed us that Securus Technologies was installing a new inmate call system, we knew that our job was about to get a little easier. Securus Technologies CEO Rick Smith says his Dallas-based company is changing the world by making it safer for everyone, and his thousand employees are all on board in helping us to do just that. When you have a resource that does the work of a dozen officers, your team is excited.
My team was trained to use the LBS software and we dove right into the software to see if we could make any headway into the huge drug problem in our jail. It wasn’t but hours later that we got our first glimpse into how powerful the system really is. There were calls from inmates to family requesting they mail drugs in a certain manner, bring them on certain days, and how to hide them without detection. The system even alerted us to conversations about inmates that were hiding drugs in the cells and using them at night too.