Drones Being Used to Smuggle Drugs and Other Contraband Into Prisons

Drones are being used to smuggle drugs and other contraband into prisons, according to The Christian Science Monitor. Last week, inmates started fighting at a correctional facility in Ohio after a drone dropped more than seven ounces of heroin, marijuana and tobacco into the prison yard.

The use of drones to smuggle drugs, weapons and cell phones into prisons is becoming more common as drones become less expensive and more accessible, the article notes. The model most often used to deliver prison contraband can be purchased on Amazon for as little as $400. As many as one million drones could be sold this year, according to the newspaper.

A Washington state senator recently introduced a bill that would add an extra year onto the prison sentence of criminals who use drones for illegal activities. Authorities in South Carolina have built new towers on state correctional facility grounds to help officers look out for drones.

Bryan P. Stirling, Director of the South Carolina Department of Corrections, said drones were not an issue when he took over the state’s prison system in 2013. “Now it’s something we’re having to devote extensive resources to,” he said.

Some prisons are using the website No Fly Zone, which allows people to enter an address into a database. Drone manufacturers use the information to program their devices to not fly over those locations. Other prisons are using a drone detection device called DroneShield, which provides advance notice of drones commonly used by smugglers. Alerts are sent by email or text and can be linked to alarm and security response teams.

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    August 5, 2015 at 7:16 PM

    Maybe it’s not a practical idea, but it seems like putting netting over the prison yard would take care of that problem.

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