Lyons said anti-contraband efforts are focused on "inmates and on visitors," but maybe that approach is part of the problem. It's fine to search for contraband once it's inside the prison, but I've not seen TDCJ doing enough to remove (much less prosecute) corrupt guards and other prison staff who assist in smuggling.
More than 35,000 convicts at 14 of Texas’ toughest prisons have been placed on lockdown status in a new crackdown on contraband smuggling — the largest in months, officials just confirmed.
The shakedown involves cell-by-cell searches and is the most significant such action in Texas’ prison system in almost a year, since Gov. Rick Perry ordered a lockdown of all 112 state prisons in October 2008 after a death row inmate used a smuggled cell phone to call — and later threaten to kill — the state senator who heads a legislative prisons committee.
“We’re doing cell searches, and the units will remain locked down until we complete that,” said Michelle Lyons, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice that operates the state corrections system.
“The units we have locked down are the ones that have the most contraband seizures … from inmates and on visitors. The goal is to keep contraband out.”
Prison officials identified the prisons as the Polunsky Unit that houses death row outside Livingston, the Ferguson Unit in Midway, the Lewis Unit in Woodville, the Michael, Beto and Coffield units near Tennessee Colony, the Central Unit in Sugar Land, the Clemons Unit near Brazoria, the Scott Unit in Angleton, the Darrington Unit in Rosharon, the Stiles Unit in Beaumont, the McConnell Unit in Beeville, the Connally Unit in Kenedy and the Allred Unit outside Wichita Falls.
Relatedly, a reader pointed out this request for bids from the comptroller's website where TDCJ is seeking a vendor to supply cell-phone locators, which I've suggested before may be a superior alternative to jamming.