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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Using Drones to Get Drugs Into Prison

It’s a sad fact that the majority of people serving time in federal and state correctional facilities are there for drug and alcohol related offenses. While many of those incarcerated find their way to recovery through NA and AA, the majority of people actively use while behind bars - creating a huge demand for drugs. In the past, most contraband narcotics found their way into correctional institution by way of the guards looking to make extra money. It turns out, today, that some drugs are being flown over jailhouse walls and are airdropped via drones, The Christian Science Monitor reports.

With $400 and an Amazon account, a drone can be purchased that is essentially a quad-copter - capable of carrying a payload. Over a million of such drones are expected to sell this year alone, according to the article. The cheap drones can be used to airdrop drugs, cell phones and weapons.

Last week, officials at Mansfield Correctional Institution in Ohio reported that a brawl between inmates on Wednesday was the result of a prison yard airdrop of more than 7 ounces of heroin, marijuana, and tobacco. Airdrops like the aforementioned, while brazen, are not isolated and officials are working to combat the growing problem.

In February, a bill was introduced by Washington State Senator Pam Roach (R) that would add an extra year of time to serve for prisoners found to be involved with drone airdrops, the article reports. South Carolina officials had towers built so that correctional officers can look out for incoming drones.

Naturally, limiting the amount of drugs that find their way into prison is important. Perhaps an even greater concern is weapons being flown into prison.

"You talk to prison officials, and it's easy to dismiss one or two weapons, but it's less easy to dismiss dozens of weapons," told Brian Hearing, the co-inventor of Drone Shield, to CBS News. "It can quickly turn from a hostage situation into a full-blown riot with multiple weapons.” 

Drone Shield is a drone detection device that alerts correctional facilities of incoming drones.

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