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New policy limits types of mail, books allowed for inmates at Ga. jail

To prevent the smuggling of contraband into the Baldwin County Jail, inmates are only allowed to have the Bible and the Koran


“There had been attempts to smuggle illegal contraband into the county jail several times, but we have intercepted those items,” the sheriff said.

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By Billy Hobbs
The Union-Recorder, Milledgeville, Ga.

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — Baldwin County Sheriff Bill Massee said he wants to remain proactive in keeping contraband out of the Baldwin County Jail.

Changes in policy will now affect what types of books are allowed for inmates in an effort to keep prohibited items from being smuggled inside the jail. Only the Bible and the Koran will be allowed.

“We’re not allowing any other books to be brought into our jail,” Massee said.

It’s all about keeping contraband away from inmates — items such as cellphones and drugs that are prohibited in the jail.

The sheriff, along with his command staff, including Maj. Robert Adams and Corey McMullen, a former deputy and agent with the Ocmulgee Drug Task Force who now works with the sheriff’s office as the IT specialist, recently implemented ways of keeping such items out of the hands of inmates.

“We’ve had several jurisdictions that have had issues with mail being soaked in everything from fentanyl to psychedelics,” Massee said. “Inmates receive this mail and soak it in water so they can ingest it or use it in other ways.”

McMullen recalled that while assigned to the multi-county drug task force he worked a case where a woman soaked socks and a T-shirt in methamphetamine, let the items dry out, and then dropped them off for an inmate.

Authorities learned about it through a recorded phone conversation between the woman and the inmate.

McMullen said the items were taken from the inmate and they tested positive for meth at a lab.

He said the inmate had planned to suck on the clothing to get high.

“I arrested the woman for possession of meth and illegal use of a communication device and for dropping off illegal contraband,” McMullen said.

The inmate also had additional charges filed against him.

Massee said he and his staff have also partnered with the jail’s Legacy Commissary Service.

“And for no charge to us, they have set up a program where our mail to any inmate in our jail will be mailed to a different location,” Massee said. “The mail will be opened and scanned and it will then be emailed to the inmates in our facility.”

The new policy began Feb. 10.

All legal mail from attorneys to clients will be handled as it has in the past.

“Legal mail will come to our jail,” Massee said. “It will then be inspected by the inmate in the presence of our people to make sure there is no contraband.”

The mail policy will only impact residential mail and not mail related to court matters.

The sheriff said he and members of his command staff had heard about several jails across the state having issues with contraband.

“There had been attempts to smuggle illegal contraband into the county jail several times, but we have intercepted those items,” Massee said.

The new local policy will help eliminate smuggling, the sheriff said.

“It will give us a safety net with any mail coming in,” Massee said.

Massee said the new policy is a safety net for both inmates and jail personnel.

“Being perfectly honest about it, it’s a public safety factor for us, not only for our inmates, but for our employees,” he said.

Massee said for the first 30 days Legacy will keep the physical mail.

“If an inmate decides they want to get the mail when they are released or whatever, then they can contact Legacy and receive their mail,” he said.

The new policy will be posted inside the jail and inmates will be informed.

“When inmates are brought into our jail, each of them will be given a copy of this where they notify their families about this new policy,” Massee said.

He said because of the use of cell phones and emails, the volume of mail has dramatically declined.

“We don’t get near the volume of mail that we used to get,” Massee said.


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