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Jail Watch: Houston Chronicle Releases Report on Jailer's Smuggling Contraband Goods Into Prisons

The Houston Chronicle has just published the results of its looksie into Texas prisons and how commonplace it is for goods to be smuggled behind bars to the prisoners or inmates.

It’s pretty darn common. Surprise, surprise.

The Houston Chronicle Reports on Contraband Discovered When Jailers Were Caught

Now, all the Chronicle is reporting about are instances where jailers got caught bringing stuff into the facilities. The report doesn’t give any details on how much stuff is actually getting through — and the report only covers a select subset of institutions across the entire State of Texas. We’re not talking the whole story here.

What’s the Stuff Being Smuggled?

And by stuff, of course, we mean contraband. Cellphones, cigarettes, any kind of weapon … the Chronicle even reports on McDonald’s Hamburgers being snuck into the joint.

From Their Study of 300 Jailers, Only 13% Were Fired

Their study covers the time period from 2003 to 2008, and investigates the 20 prison units where it is believed the smuggling problem is the worst. During these six years, approximately 300 correctional institution employees were found to have received reprimands for the possession of contraband.

Out of 263 jailers who were disciplined for contraband, 75% got probation, which meant that they stayed on the job but were put under “special scrutiny” for set time periods. Only 35 were fired. And, 26 scooted away without being punished in any way. One solitary jailer did get prosecuted for this crime — because this smuggling by the guards is a crime — but he didn’t serve any time behind bars for it.

What Made the Chronicle Do This Study?

According to the Chronicle’s story, this contraband issue came up because of a story last fall, where Richard Lee Tabler, an inmate on Texas’ Death Row used a smuggled cell phone to call and threaten State Senator John Whitmire.

One has to wonder, though, if part of the impetus of this news story is Sheriff Keating and his Montague Jail (see the earlier posts here about Sheriff Keating) — where recliners were in the jail cells, and which the media is now labelling as the “Inmates Gone Wild Jail” and the “Animal House” ….

After all, smuggling a full-size recliner into a jail cell is pretty darn big job of getting contraband through ….


Houston Chronicle

USA Today


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