Local News

September 23, 2013

Prison, jail contraband poses risk for workers, inmates.

Endangers workers, inmates at jails and prisons


Mailey said inmates are searched for contraband on a regular basis.

A statistic outlining the origin of illegal items — how much is fashioned by inmates and how much is brought in by visitors — was not immediately available from DOCCS or the Clinton County Jail.

While visiting prison, visitors are not permitted to give any item to an inmate without staff permission, according to the DOCCS Visiting Program Guide.

Any violation by either an inmate or a visitor can lead to suspension of visiting privileges.

When incoming inmates are booked at the Clinton County Jail, it is not uncommon for officers to find drugs or weapons in the person’s possession, Favro said.


In any given month of 2011, promoting prison contraband occurred at a higher rate than any other category of unusual incident, among them inmate self-injury, disruptive behavior and escape, according to the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Unusual Incident Report for 2011.

In total, 2,453 incidents of prison contraband in state prisons were reported that year.

Contraband was most often found in housing units.

There were 2,790 inmates in Dannemora’s Clinton Correctional Facility in 2011 and 439 unusual incidents recorded that year.

Weapons were used in 27 percent of unusual incidents statewide.

The three most frequently used weapons other than physical force were cutting weapons, a string or rope, razor blades and “unspecified weapons.”


Prison-issued toiletry items like razors can be used as weapons, so DOCCS has certain protocol for the use of these everyday items by inmates.

In the main building at Clinton Correctional, inmates are given a single-blade disposable razor and a weekly razor inspection is conducted, Mailey said.

In the Clinton Correctional Annex, however, inmates are issued a one-time-use razor that must be returned to staff, he said.

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