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Importance of checking inmate phone records

You can learn a lot from phone calls, such as plans for contraband being introduced to your facility or planned assaults on staff or other inmates

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Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for my friends who work in corrections, and it deals with periodically checking your inmate phone systems to gather intelligence.

Last year, an escape incident in the southeast received national media attention. In the aftermath, the investigation revealed what I describe as a “problem lying in wait.” It involved nearly 1,000 phone calls between the inmate in question and the staff member who assisted in his escape. All these calls were recorded on the inmate phone system.

Chances are, your facility uses a third-party inmate phone provider that includes a platform for monitoring and recording non-attorney inmate phone calls. The question is, are you regularly accessing the platform to learn who your inmates are talking to and what they are talking about? There is a potential wealth of intelligence here.

With today’s technology, most phone platforms can identify and detect frequently called numbers and “flag” them in your system. In addition, the platforms can allow the agency to input, flag or even block known staff member phone numbers for access by inmates. This is an important preventive measure to assist in identifying compromised or potentially compromised staff.

You can learn a lot from phone calls. Plans for contraband being introduced to your facility. Planned assaults on staff or other inmates. Potential disturbances and even criminal activity outside of your facility, such as witness tampering or threats.

Take the time to monitor your inmate phone system and periodically legally listen in on recorded inmate phone calls. You might learn a lot – and prevent harm to inmates, your staff or your facility.

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Until next time, Gordon Graham signing off.


For more tips from Gordon, click here.


Gordon Graham has been actively involved in law enforcement since 1973. He spent nearly 10 years as a very active motorcycle officer while also attending Cal State Long Beach to achieve his teaching credential, USC to do his graduate work in Safety and Systems Management with an emphasis on Risk Management, and Western State University to obtain his law degree. In 1982 he was promoted to sergeant and also admitted to the California State Bar and immediately opened his law offices in Los Angeles.
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