We usually assume that when people are sent to prison, they are cut off
from the outside world, unable to communicate freely or to receive assistance
or materials from friends or family. In general, corrections officers
take great pains to make sure this is so: Gifts are searched carefully
and prohibited substances are confiscated.
And yet, in some cases, inmates are still able to obtain contraband items.
Often, these contraband items are controlled substances such as marijuana
or cocaine. A recent court case from Baltimore shed some light on the
issue of prison contraband when a corrections officer was accused of smuggling
illegal items into the Baltimore City Detention Center.
According to prosecutors, the 25-year-old corrections officer was accused
of smuggling drugs and cell phones into the prison in which she worked.
The smuggling was done on behalf of the Black Guerrilla Family gang, several
members of which are incarcerated at the facility. She was accused of
“frequently” bringing items into the facility, a charge for
which she could face up to 20 years of imprisonment.
The case has been part of a greater scandal at the Baltimore facility,
in which a total of 25 people have been indicted on charges related to
drug smuggling and corruption.
The 25-year-old corrections officer pleaded guilty to the charges placed
before her. Her sentencing is scheduled for January, but she may already
be paying for her actions: According to spokeswoman for Maryland’s
detention facilities, employees who are found guilty of a felony can be
dismissed immediately. It seems unlikely that she will receive employment
at another prison.
The case illustrates the extraneous punishments that a criminal conviction
can have on a person. Though a conviction on drug charges will likely
include jail time and fines, it will also have a number of other effects,
most notably the loss of a person’s career. The stigma attached to
drug charges makes it very difficult for those convicted to find work after their release.
It is often in the best interests of the accused, therefore, to defend
himself or herself against such charges whenever possible.
The Baltimore Sun, “Officer pleads guilty in jail drug-smuggling scandal” Jessica Anderson, Sep. 23, 2013