Thursday, December 11, 2008

Contraband prosecutions

After all the hubbub about contraband smuggling in state prisons, it's ironic that the only recent example we've seen of indictments against prison staff for contraband comes from a privately run federal facility. AP reports that:

A former correctional officer at the Ector County Correctional Center faces a federal bribery charge for allegedly supplying an inmate with three bags of marijuana and a cell phone in exchange for about $450, the U.S. Department of Justice said Wednesday.

Andrew Allen Zehr, 23, faces up to 15 years in federal prison and a maximum $250,000 fine if convicted of the offense alleged to have taken place in late October. ...

Zehr was employed by New Jersey-based CiviGenics, otherwise known as Community Education Centers. The company is contracted by the county to manage the federal holding facility inside the Ector County Courthouse, the Odessa American reported Tuesday for its online edition.

The Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee was told in November that TDCJ has caught 46 guards smuggling cell phones into prisons since a system-wide lockdown was implemented this fall, but we've heard nothing yet about prosecutions in any of those state cases.


Anonymous said...

The prosecutions against inmates are ongoing, they just don't make the papers.

Anonymous said...

Good heavens, Scott, do you actually think TDCJ will allow the papers to publish the names and details of a possible prosecution of guards caught introducing contraband into the system? If this big investigation is still ongoing the details will be quietly swept under the rug and the same guards will be bringing in the same as usual. Actually, if TDCJ treats this issue like issues with wardens who are caught with their hand in the cookie jar, said guards have probably been promoted. That is what they do with the wardens. Just move them to another prison and let a new regional director deal with the issue.

Perhaps Senator Whitmire could scream loud enough to get TDCJ to publish the names of those guards walked off units without criminal charges. Makes you wonder if visitors who are now subject to pat searches would be given the same dispensation by TDCJ should they possess contraband.

This whole issue about cell phones and other contraband will quietly fade away over time. It will be business as usual and guards will continue to take it in. The only thing this whole issue yeilded was a statewide, knee jerk reaction lockdown that denied prisoners and their families no visitation for a couple weeks and now causes huge backups in visitation lines while we take our shoes off and go through the cursory pat down search. It all looks good and has no doubt soothed Mr. Whitmire's fears. Basically, it is just another dog and pony show brought to you by TDCJ.

Anonymous said...

The circuit judges in Mississippi where the MS State Penitentiary is located will no longer hear inmate contraband cases without the officer/guard present who delivered the contraband to the inmate. Until the departments of corrections or the private facilities care to charge their own employees then charging inmates is just a waste of time.

Anonymous said...

What a novel idea 12/12/ 09:07:00 AM!Mississippi comes up with a very good idea to stop the contraband brought in by guards and Texas cannot figure out who is bringing the cell phones and other contraband.

Does anyone see anything wrong with this picture? Maybe Texas does not want to see the clear picture; this presents some thought.

The contraband has been ongoing for years, but the Legislators refused to listen, but what else is new? They only listen to suggestions and praises they receive for doing absolutely nothing for the good of this State.

I am not saying all the Legislators do not listen, but apparently more do not than do.

What happened to term limits? That would be a way to get fresh ideas into the system. We waste more money than a lot of States even receive. Our prison system is out of control and we need to cut back on men/women being sent there for misdemeanors and release those who are eligible for parole. The BPP needs to answer to someone and Rissie Owens is not that person.

Revamp the entire system and see what a savings to Texas plus the reuniting of families and let those who are and were productive citizens go home.


Anonymous said...

No respectable blogger could overlook the TDCJ scandal with Warden Charlie Williamson.

Anonymous said...

Former Allred unit officer was indicted for bringing in a cell phone last month. The problem is lazy DA's not wanting to proscute.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:12 One of those outstanding convicts was paroled about two months ago,he went to Houston and killed a Police Officer.It seems like there is always a back seat driver.


Anonymous said...

Oh, well then by all means let's eliminate parole, since apparently a parolee killed somebody. What's your point, Anon 7:39?

Anonymous said...

Similar to the youth abuser that had a warrant out for his arrest, and TYC hired him at Brownwood. No background checks and you hire terrible people sometimes, and then wonder why there is a problem with contraband and other areas!

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