Controlling contraband should be the top priority of any prison management, regardless of the level of security. Contraband is any item that a prisoner is not allowed to possess (Frantz 178). All correctional facilities provide their inmates with room and board, clothing, medical care, and basic hygiene items. A number of these facilities allow their inmates to buy items from the commissary or receive other articles or items through other authorized channels. Any other thing, aside from these that a prisoner possesses are contraband. Weapons and escape materials are both dangerous in the correct circumstances. A number of staffs who work in prisons are acutely aware of the destruction that these items are likely to cause. These items, in addition to drugs and alcohol, can cause great havoc and pose a potential danger to staff and other inmates. Other items such as materials to make homemade ropes or buffer cords, maps, dummies, and unauthorized clothing pose the danger of facilitating the escape of inmates.
There are several means through which inmates can access contraband in prisons. Contractors, inmates, visitors, and even staffs have a hand in getting into prison contraband, and they get into the prison premises in conceivable ways (Blackburn, Shannon, and Pollock 111). It is especially problematic because of the staff's involvement in contraband smuggling. There are a number of ways in which prisoners can get staffs to carry out the task of smuggling contraband. A common way is the offers that inmates make in return for them to offer voluntary services for acquiring and sneaking contraband. For a number of prison staffs, extra cash by the end of the month could be a powerful temptation in a poorly paying job. In other instances, inmates may coerce the staff in carrying contraband into prisons by posing threats of violence against friends or family members.
Contraband could also get their way into prisons through visitors. For example, it is a frequent practice for visitors to sneak in food items and illicit drugs through the visiting room. Sometimes the visitors may leave small bags of illicit drugs, and other contraband in the parking lots for the prisoners to pick them later. Prisoners can also get contraband during working hours, especially when they go out of the prison. Whenever prisoners go out, they have an opportunity to secure illegal items such as supplements, food items, cell phones, drugs, liquor, and other contraband, which they avail to their associates who did not have a chance to acquire them. The other way that prisoners can get contraband is by stealing them from other areas in a correctional facility. Such item that they could steal include knives or food from the kitchen, or tools from the vocational shops. They may also steal metals from metal shops and use them to make deadly weapons. Prisoners can also get contraband by making them within the prisons. They may make a number of contraband using the locally available materials such as bedsprings or used electrical heaters. Inmates have always demonstrated amazing creativity in what they use to make contraband.
Of all these means through which contraband find their way into prisons, visitors are the greatest contributors. Visitors make the fundamental pipeline through which drugs find their way to prisoners; some prisoners exploit the visiting process to communicate with potential crime partners, or naive friends who help them to sneak contraband into the prison premises. In a number of cases, prisoners make first contacts with outside contacts through pen pal organization, and they swiftly exploit the friendship. Sometimes, prisoners abuse the visiting process by using it to convince sympathetic visitors to give them money or provide them with assistance by participating in criminal activities that require outside participation.
There is a possibility that any item that prisoners acquire illegally can go to the right price. However, the price generally depends on the level of security in a correctional facility. The higher the level of security of the prison, the more the expensive the item becomes while the lower the level of security the lower the price of the same item. For instance, according to Frantz, whereas, at a correctional facility in Miami, a pack of cigarette was selling for between $20 to $25 dollars, in a nearby facility, it was selling for between $15 to $18 a piece in an adjacent Federal Correctional Facility (Frantz 178).…