Do visitors or corrupt staff bring in more prison contraband?

Columnist Gary York uses his experience as both a CO and a prison inspector to answer the age-old question


My very first experiences with witnessing a corrupt officer and a drug-smuggling visitor occurred around 1991 when I was first working as a correctional officer in Hillsborough County, Florida. As I would come to find out over the next 15 years, however, these were anything but isolated incidents.

While this topic receives a lot of debate from all sides, I can tell you that in my experience, both as a correctional officer and ultimately a prison inspector within the Florida prison system, not all personnel involved in corrections want to be involved in this discussion; there are certainly members of prison management as well as line officers who refuse to confront this problem and the truth about it. I can also tell you that from speaking with other investigators and correctional officers across the country, my involvement and research closely align with many other correctional agencies.

That said, after twelve years of prison investigations, and charging many visitors and prison staff with the introduction of contraband, here is my final answer to the never-ending question of who brings in more.

Someone needs to address it, so here I go.

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