A new law was recently passed in California that allowed parolees who have violated the provisions of their parole to serve a few weeks in a county jail, rather than be mandated to prison. Because of this change, some parolees that need to report to jail have started smuggling drugs into the jail systems, which aren‘t equipped to handle it.
“These folks have brought with them prison politics, prison contraband, prison culture. It’s very different than what the deputy sheriffs were previously used to dealing with,” explained Adam Christianson, the Sheriff in Stanislaus County.
Originally, the law was passed to alleviate the amount of people in the prison system and lessen the amount of money needed to take care of the prison population. Unfortunately, no one was prepared for the influx of prisoners to county jails.
In order to prevent more drugs from being smuggled into the jails, body scanners are being used to prevent the swallowed drugs from going undetected. It is clear that drugs are a major problem in the prison system. Many inmates are incarcerated because of their drug habit and instead of acquiring some clean time, they can simply purchase more drugs from the dealer in jail.
There are even reports of people intentionally violating their parole to be able to smuggle drugs into the county lock-ups. This was an unforeseen event, as even though the drug sentencing laws have favored treatment, there are people convicted of other crimes that also use and smuggle these drugs.
Clearly there are more forms of intervention needed at all levels, both in the drug prevention and rehabilitation areas as well as the law enforcement and corrections department.