Contraband targeted by county jail officials

Published 5:00 am Thursday, October 23, 2003

Lincoln County Jail officials are taking a closer look atpreventing contraband from getting into the facility whilecontinuing to handle day-to-day functions.

Sheriff Lynn Boyte did not indicate any recent contrabandproblems but said items had been found in jail cells periodicallythroughout his almost 16 years in office.

“I just think we need to have more control,” Boyte said.

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Boyte did not identify any specific means of how contraband isgetting into the jail. However, he did express concerns aboutinmate interaction with people outside the jail during trips tocourt, deliveries of items into the jail, and inmate visits withfamily and others.

“The biggest problem we have is getting cigarettes slipped intothe jail,” Boyte said, adding that they are then sold in jail bythe inmates. “That causes chaos for us.”

Boyte mentioned a practice that attorneys and pastors were notsearched when they come into the jail. However, that is going tochange.

“Everybody who goes into the jail is going to be have to bebetter looked at,” Boyte said.

Contraband items that have gotten into the jail over the yearshave included cigarettes, small amounts of marijuana and bladedweapons, Boyte said. He said the items had been hidden in jailcells and found later during searches.

“A lot of it you don’t know who to charge, but it just gotthere,” Boyte said.

Boyte was at somewhat of a loss in determining a way of stemmingthe influx.

“The only way to stop it is to let nothing in and nothing out,”Boyte said.

Letting nothing out would restrict a valuable service to thecounty by inmate work crews. Trustys work with county road crews,pick up litter on roadsides and perform various jobs around thecourthouse.

“We haven’t had any problems with our work crews or anythinglike that,” said Boyte, although he told supervisors earlier thisweek that trusty activity would need to be supervised moreclosely.

In discussing contraband, Boyte also mentioned the sheer numberof people who come in and out of the jail, either on criminalcharges or those who are sent to work off court fines.

Those who stay in the jail for extended periods have time todevise schemes of getting things into the jail, Boyte said. Heacknowledged that contraband concerns are not unique to LincolnCounty.

“It’s something that’s found in every jail,” Boyte said. “It’s aproblem and will be as long as you’ve got inmates.”