The use of alcohol, mobile phones, illegal drugs and cameras within the prison system continues to rise but who is at fault in allowing the contraband in?
There has yet to be any studies or official record keeping process of officers who have been arrested or fired for smuggling contraband in jails so it has been assumed that inmates are the ones sneaking in the contraband.
But arrest records show officers are just as guilty.
So far this month, a dozen correctional officers and employees across the nation have been arrested for smuggling banned items into jails.
This month, a Texas correctional officer in Williamson County was arrested for smuggling tobacco into jail.
In January, the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint that corrections officer Jonathan Flournoy was smuggling tobacco products into the jail and selling those products to inmates.
Flournoy was arrested this week and charged with a third degree charge of prohibited substance in a correctional facility and currently has a bond of $10,000.
A Kansas corrections officer named Caleb A. Sanders, 21, was arrested on two felony charges this month.
After working for Shawnee County Corrections for just over five months, Sanders was caught on camera bringing in contraband. After speaking to other inmates and reviewing camera footage, Sanders was charged with introducing contraband into a correctional institution and conspiracy to introduce contraband.
Deputy Corrections Director Maj. Timothy Phelps could not confirm what was brought in but confirmed that it was not drugs or weapons.
“The DOC has a zero tolerance policy regarding the introduction of any unauthorized items, as a serious breach of policy and the community’s trust,” Phelps stated in a news release, according to WIBW.
Sanders is currently on administrative leave and remains in jail with no bond.
South Carolina correctional officer Tyshiana Brown, 24, has been accused of multiple crimes, including providing contraband to a McCormick Correctional Institution inmate.
An investigation into Brown revealed that on April 1, tobacco was brought into the institution. Throughout the investigation, officers also learned that Brown was texting and exchanging nude photographs with inmates. Snapchat videos recorded by Brown also showed Brown making threats to two other officers.
Brown has been charged with: providing contraband to an inmate, misconduct in office, and threatening the life of a public official.
North Carolina correction officer Antwan Hamilton, 23, was arrested this month and given a $14,000 secured bond after bringing drugs into the Greene County Prison with intentions of selling to inmates.
Greene County Sheriff Lemmie Smith says Hamilton was charged with six counts of possession of schedule III controlled substance, one count of possession with intent to sell/deliver controlled substance, and one count of possession of controlled substance on prison premises. Hamilton worked within the Eastern Correctional Institution.
A South Jersey corrections officer was found guilty this month of attempting to smuggle drugs into prison. South Woods State Prison Senior Corrections Officer David Cade, 54, was arrested after trading drugs and cash in a sting operation against him.
In March and April 2018, Cade made a deal with a woman outside of prison to bring in Oxycodone and Suboxone. The inmate agreed to pay Cade $1,000 to smuggle the drugs into prison as well as give the woman 21 Suboxone strips.
Cade pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery in official and political matters and is permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey.
A Mississippi correctional officers was charged this month after an investigation led to her being caught introducing contraband into the Lee County Jail.
Officer Cathy Barnett, 59, was caught handing the contraband to Corey Carroll. Carroll was in jail on charges involving kidnapping, burglary and larceny of a building, simple assault on an officer and abuse of 911 calls. Barnett is currently out on a $10,000 bond. Both face up to 15 years in prison and/or up to a $25,000 fine if convicted of the contraband charge.
A shift supervisor at an Indiana jail has been charged this month after an inmate came forward stating that the officer traded money, phones, and tobacco into the Henry County Jail. According to the inmate, officer Dallas Dale Gates, 42, would trade in vape juice and tobacco for cash with inmates. One of the transactions also included a promise to tattoo Gates once the inmate was released.
During the investigation, Gates received $63 of marked currency and two cell phones. Gates was later stopped by an officer and the marked money and phones were recovered. Gates was arrested with multiple charges, including two level 5 felonies and facing up to six years. Gates is currently out on bond.
A Florida mental health worker at the Charlotte Correctional Institution was arrested this month after getting caught bringing in contraband. Kaitlyn Robertson, an employee of FDC mental health contractor, Centurion, admitted to bringing cigarettes, SIM cards, and love letters.
According to the investigation, Robertson put the SIM cards in an open pack of cigarettes that she hid in her shoes while going through the metal detector. Employees are allowed to bring in a pack of cigarettes, but the packs must not be open. After the pat down, Robertson put everything in a trash can for inmate Carlos Flores to get.
Flores was later caught with a clear plastic bag in his pants filled with the contraband. Flores denies that it was left for him and that he found it but the love letters disprove that by revealing a sexual tryst between Robertson and Flores. Robertson was charged with four counts of introduction of contraband into a state correctional facility and is currently out after posting a $25,000 bond.
Florida correctional officer Vanica Clermond was arrested this month after bringing in drugs into the Desoto Correctional Institution. Clermond brought in two bundles of Suboxone strips and hid them in her dental case, according to the affidavit.
A Florida food service employee was arrested this month after bringing in cigarettes into the Hardee Correctional Institute with intention of trading with inmates. Alisa St. Louis was charged with commercial bribe receiving after bringing in four packages of rolled cigarettes filled with 150 grams of tobacco, according to the arrest affidavit.
A Georgia correctional officer was arrested this month after officers searched her house and found marijuana. Authorities believe Lieutenant Lakeshia Katersa Thomas, 39, used her position to smuggle in drugs to sell to inmates at Hays State Prison. The inmates she sold the weed to belonged to the Gangster Disciples street gang.
Thomas was charged with possession of more than one ounce of marijuana, possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, participation with a criminal street gang, violation of oath of office, and trading with inmates. As of Wednesday, Thomas was still in custody.
After a week-long surveillance investigation, an Arkansas correctional officer was arrested for obtaining drugs with intentions of bringing it into the Crittenden County Jail.
Julian Taylor, 30, was observed bringing in drugs into a public restroom inside the Crittenden County Sheriff’s Office and leaving the drugs in a trash can.
Moments later, corrections officer Torell Tyson, 23, walked into the restroom to retrieve the drugs. Both were arrested and charged with furnishing prohibited articles and possession of a controlled substance.
Though there is no official count of all the “bad apples” a small study in 2018 revealed that “20 jail staff members in 12 separate county jails were arrested, indicted, or convicted on charges of bringing in or planning to bring in contraband,” according to Prison Policy.