Thought I’d write on something a little different. A couple of people have expressed interest in my job from time to time. I am a sergeant in a state correctional facility (main prison).
Holidays are like any other day in prison, but with less structure. There are no education classes or other more formal obligations, few medical call outs, and families are allowed to visit their husbands, sons, boyfriends. The day is a little more laid back than a normal workday on the compound. On the other hand the inmates get to spend more time together inside the housing units, watching television, going to the inmate canteen, or going to the recreation field, so the potential for bad things (fights, stabbings, contraband exchanges, etc.) is as high or higher on holidays.
The visitation park where inmates meet with their family members is always a hotspot for attempts at contraband exchanges. Relatives try to bring in drugs, cell phones, tobacco, money and other contraband items the inmates are forbidden from having inside the prison. They bring these items in in their clothes, baby diapers, and yes, even inserted in body cavities, and then attempt to pass them off to the inmate during the visit. The inmates and visitors also attempt to have sex during the visit. It is the job of the visitation sergeant, and usually three or four officers, to prevent these things from happening. A visitor goes through metal detectors and a simple pat search upon entering the facility. The inmate is completely strip searched upon entering the visitation area and then strip searched again when the visit is completed and the inmate returns to the compound. This past Memorial Day weekend was especially active at the visitation park and on the compound. Three inmates were placed in confinement from the visitation park, and four were locked up off the compound.
On Saturday, upon completing his visit and being strip searched, an inmate was found to have a condom hanging from his rear-end. There was nothing inside the condom and the inmate said he “found it” and was going to give to one of the punks (homosexuals) on the compound. Folks, there are no condoms to “find” in the visitation park so the inmate was placed in a confinement cell on property restriction (nothing in the cell – sleeps on a mat in wrap). He is also being monitored during his bowel movements to see if he passes anything. He must defecate onto paper and then the inmate must go through the feces to show the officer there is nothing in it. A nasty, nasty, stinky job.
Also on Saturday, we had been watching a female visitor on previous visits suspecting she was bringing drugs in to an inmate. The prisons work closely with the county sheriffs department to catch or prevent this type of activity. The woman completed her visit with the inmate and the inmate was strip searched. Small amounts of drugs were found and the county sheriffs deputy was notified. The deputy stopped the woman a couple of miles from the prison. She had a temporary tag on her car which had been altered (she had been making copies and changing the expiration dates), she had a suspended driver’s license, and she had drugs in her car. She was placed in the county jail and the inmate was placed in confinement. Her visitation rights are permanently terminated.
On Sunday a female visitor was observed having oral sex with an inmate. Her visit (and her visitation rights) were terminated and the inmate was placed in confinement.
Meanwhile, on the compound, a disagreement between the White Boys gang and some Bloods resulted in a rash of tips on cell phones. We found three this weekend, and a new unique way of hiding the damn things in plain sight. Also, during the searches for cell phones, we found five shanks (very similar to the ones pictured). We placed four more inmates in confinement off the compound.
All in all it was a good Memorial weekend. There were no fights or stabbings, no inmates were hurt. Everyone (staff) went home safe to their families, and some dangerous items were taken out of inmate hands. Just a good holiday weekend on the ‘pound.