Authorities Have A Hard Time Controlling Contraband - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

03/02/05 - Angelina County

Authorities Have A Hard Time Controlling Contraband

by Ramonica R. Jones

Angelina County jail officials are still trying to figure out how an inmate got to reach out and touch someone. 

Sheriff Kent Henson is in the middle of an internal investigation on how a cell phone was smuggled into the jail.  He can't comment on whether or not anyone's been fired because of the incident.  

The smuggled phone was discovered last week after the inmate made a call using the cell phone.

Sheriff Henson said "narcotics, cigarettes, cell phones, food and mail" are just some of the things jail employees find after visitng day.  Visitors aren't searched when they come inside the jail, but authorities keep an eye out for items they could be smuggling to inmates.

"A lot of times we'll check the cars in the parking lot and people don't know that they've even been checked."

No matter what the sheriff does to keep contraband from getting into the jail, you can be sure the inmates are already thinking of ways to get around it.

"We've got cameras zeroed in on the dumpsters.  We got people who drive up and put stuff behind the dumpsters and when the trustees carry the trash out, they'll pick it up and carry it in."

Jail inmates have 24 hours a day to conjure up ways to get what they can't have, that's why the sheriff's department tries to keep them busy.  It took two weeks for inmates to paint a mural on a wall inside the jail.  It's a creative way for them to be productive and stay out of even more trouble.

Smuggling contraband to any inmate who's in prison is a felony.  Texas sheriffs would like to see that law apply to county jails as well.

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