Keeping order in prison is getting harder each year as overcrowding conditions are really pushing these facilities to their limits. Each time more inmates are added to a jail, it stretches prison staff to have to work harder to maintain order. I work in a prison in Arizona that has more gang members that any other facility, and these inmates live for the chance to hurt officers. My team has to really work hard to maintain a degree of order so everyone behind these walls is safe.
Securus Technologies has been an important part of our efforts to maintain order, they are responsible for updating our inmate call monitoring system in the jail. The system can easily scan every call the inmates are making, and it will alert my team if anything needs addressing. The company already has this monitoring system up and running in 2,500 different jails around this country, and it has been successful at helping drive down violence in these facilities. Richard Smith, CEO of Securus Technologies, says his entire staff is dedicated to the objective of keeping the world safe.
Now that me and my fellow officers have been taught how to use the LBS software, we started to see the benefits on day one. It wasn’t long after the call monitoring system was installed, one inmate was overheard talking to his elderly father about sneaking drugs through the visitor center. We found out another inmate was making weapons and hiding them in the yard for a potential attack. We even discovered one inmate was being forced by gang leaders to accept drugs and then sell them to other inmates to kick up to the gang so they could continue business without incident.
Now we take swift action the second the LBS software alerts my team of any potential troubles.
One of the most serious threats to the nation’s penal institutions is ongoing criminal activity taking place within the institution’s walls. Much of this crime is perpetrated by criminals who feel they have nothing to lose. Facing long stretches of incarceration, many criminals develop a deep sense of ennui and lose hope that they will someday be able to reintegrate successfully into society. Much of this is driven by the fact that they have no one to socialize with but other criminals, leading to a form of deep habituation to the criminal environment that is known by penologists as institutionalization.
But there are ways to combat this pernicious descent into the criminal lifestyle behind bars. One way is through the use of modern technology. Securus Technologies has developed a video visitation platform that allows criminals incarcerated in the nation’s prisons to stay in nearly constant contact with their loved ones on the outside. This ability to maintain socialization with law abiding citizens contributes greatly to the ability of prisoners to maintain a sense of hope and to do their time in a way consistent with institutional rules.
On top of this, the ability of prisoners to stay in contact with their loved ones on a daily basis provides an enormous incentive for those prisoners to stay on their best behavior. The prospect of losing the ability to stay in touch with children, wives and other loved ones is great enough that it can hold major sway over the choices that prisoners make while behind bars.
The combined effects of maintaining strong socialization with law-abiding citizens on the outside and the great privilege of being able to stay in contact with loved ones is a powerful means of maintaining order throughout the nation’s prison. That is why facilities with Securus video visitation have lower rates of rules infractions than other institutions.
Drugs in a jail are something my team of corrections officers are trying to eradicate on a daily basis. The smallest amount of crack or heroin in the hands of an inmate mean anyone they come in contact with can be in serious danger. Add into the mix a weapon, and lives are at risk behind the prison walls. We are not just talking about guards, this includes other inmates and visitors to the jail too.
My team doubled our presence at the visitor center, doing a physical check of every person that came into the jail to see an inmate. The thinking here was we would find the drugs coming in and we would deter them from trying the next time because they face significant jail time themselves if caught trying to bring anything to the inmates. Although we were able to see a drop in such instances, the drug problem did not go away. We even increased our surprise cell inspections, but the drugs kept making their way into the hands of the inmates.
Around this time we had Securus Technologies installing a new inmate call monitoring system, and we had to be trained to use the LBS software. The company has 1,000 employees, and CEO Richard Smith says they’re all committed to the objective of helping to make our world safe for everyone. The system is currently in 2,600 jails, and getting stellar results. It was time to use this new monitoring system in our efforts to find the source of the drug problem.
Hours after we began paying close attention for specific chatter about drugs, these inmates began talking up a storm. We discovered how they acquired the illegal contraband, how the transfers were being made, and even where they were hiding these drugs inside the jail right under our noses.