Thursday, March 17, 2011

Drug Trafficking In Prison Systems of America

In the prison system of America, drug trafficking is a huge problem. Different gangs try to control the drugs' position to make their gang more powerful. In the prison system, gangs use drugs almost like money; drugs are another way to control people. It is surprising to me that more than half of the inmates that are institutionalized have been convicted of drug related crimes. It does not make sense that the inmates continue to use drugs while being incarcerated. “The Department of Corrections estimates that at least 70 percent of the state prison system's 160,000 inmates have a substance abuse problem of one kind or another, but it is unclear how many inmates use drugs in prison daily” (Doyle, Jim). This shows that drugs are a huge problem in the correction system. If inmates are supposed to be getting sober and rehabilitated why is 70 percent of the population still using illegal substances? It is almost like the incarcerated individuals with a drug problem are getting worse while they are in prison. In California, the prison system is called California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Prisoners are suppose to be getting help for their drug problems and should be going to classes to teach them the harmful side effects on drugs.

However, the larger issue is how the prisoners receive their drugs. Some get them through visiting family members. The majority of illegal drugs moved in from the outside are from the correctional staff. “Some guards are coerced by inmates into smuggling drugs. Inmates may first ask a friendly guard to procure insignificant personal items for them, then later blackmail the guard who has broken the law by bringing contraband into the prison into supplying drugs”(Doyle,Jim). This shows that the guards are under a lot of pressure to keep their job so they decide to follow the orders of the inmate and continue to bring contraband in the prison. "Correctional Officer April C. Reynolds, 36, of San Francisco, was charged with two felony counts of heroin trafficking”(Weiner, Janelle). Contraband goes for twice as much in prison than on the streets so the correctional staff can make a lot of money by selling illegal drugs. “In May 2010, agents arrested Correctional Officer Michael Laurin, 54, at the California State Prison, Sacramento – also known as New Folsom. Laurin allegedly bought a pound of marijuana from inmates' relatives who were working undercover for agents”(Weiner, Janelle). We as a society need to severely punish correctional staff that bring contraband in the prison system – it is unacceptable! There should be enforced laws and more protocol about searching the correctional staff. In a positive light, a couple agencies are taking matters into their own hands such as California State Prison, Solano in Vacaville and the Central California Women's facility in Chowchilla. Guard dogs and high tech equipment such as ion detectors that can detect small traces of narcotics are being used to screen visitors and inmates. Inmates and new prison employees are being subjected to random searches and random drug testing.

The problem of drug trafficking is a significant problem but if more institutions like Solano and Chowchilla can crack down on this problem, then why can’t all American prison systems? Inmates are not suppose to go prison and become a drug-addicted career criminal, they are supposed to be rehabilitated and become a productive member of society.

Work Cited

Doyle Jim. (16, Feb. 1999) Crackdown on Drug Trafficking in State Prisons, 2010.

Weiner, Janelle. Catch and Release. April 2, 2009. Sacramento News & Review Print.

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