The Nebraska Department of Corrections conducted a contraband sweep at the State Penitentiary in late August and early September that resulted in the discovery of weapons, a cell phone, a large amount of drugs and homemade alcohol. Director Scott Frakes says contraband and prisons go hand-in-hand.
Frakes says, “It is part of the history of prisons. Yes they are secure and yes there are physical security measures that we take. There are security practices that we implement and we use every possible control that we can put in place. As they say where there is a will there is a way. There is a high motivation to bring drugs into the facilities and that is a long time part of prison history. A big part of our population that is housed with us has substance abuse problems so they have the motivation.”
The next question is how the contraband makes its way into the facility. Frakes says people are very creative. He says, “We have visiting programs and unfortunately visitors to inmates introduce contraband. We have contractors that come into the facilities and sometimes they introduce contraband. And we have instances that we know of where people have literally come up and thrown contraband into the facility.” He says sometimes it is employee related.
Frakes says they always are looking for the source. He says the inmates are reluctant to give any information so they look at videos, review phone calls and interview other inmates to find out where it is coming from. He says there are many ways weapons can be manufactured inside prison walls and they are always watching, searching and looking at their security practices and controlling materials to prevent that from happening.
Over the years there have been a number of assaults on prison staff. Frakes staffing is good at eight of their ten facilities They continue to have challenges in Tecumseh and that has been part of their history since they opened. He says they have also had problems at the State Penitentiary. He says they continue to recruit and look at what they can do differently to fully train staff and make sure they are safe while on the job.