By Josh Mitchell
Corinth Today News Editor
Alcorn County Sheriff Ben Caldwell thanked the Mississippi Department of Corrections for its help in seizing large amounts of contraband from the state prison facility here Wednesday.
“We want to thank MDOC for helping us today,” Caldwell said. “Anytime you’re dealing with a prison or jail system contraband is a major battle to fight.”
Caldwell said his administration fights contraband on a daily basis and seizes items at least weekly.
It was a great help to have the manpower from MDOC come in Wednesday and search the facility, he added.
The regional correctional facility houses 240 state inmates and is under Caldwell’s jurisdiction as sheriff.
Contraband in the regional correctional facility is “troubling” to Caldwell and his chief of security, he added.
With a limited number of corrections officers on staff locally it can be tough to catch everything. That is why the assistance from MDOC was so helpful, Caldwell said.
The bust on Wednesday seized more than 100 cellphones and cellphone chargers, large bags of tobacco and numerous other contraband items, including shoes and shanks, a news release from MDOC states.
Caldwell said there are only a few ways that contraband can enter a facility. Those include work inmates bringing items in from the outside, people throwing items over the perimeter fence at night and employees bringing items in.
The introduction of contraband into the prison will not be tolerated, and those caught doing it will be prosecuted, Caldwell asserted. Since Caldwell has been sheriff there have been two correctional officers arrested and charged with the introduction of contraband.
The sheriff noted that it is almost impossible to stop all contraband from entering. Staff conducts searches of prison zones and common areas on a daily basis and has found items such as cellphones, tobacco and marijuana.
Items such as tobacco can be used as a currency in prison, and cellphones can be used by inmates to continue a criminal enterprise on the outside while incarcerated, Caldwell said.
Inmates have a lot of time to think of ways to get items into jail, the sheriff said. Some may offer to pay off corrections officers who bring them items.
Caldwell said he is looking into bringing some vocational training programs through the community college system to the prison. This would allow inmates to learn a trade and put their minds to constructive use, he said.