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Assessing Contraband Quantities
By Joe Bouchard
Published: 04/11/2011

Contraband d Imagine a sports team with a one and 15 record. Does this sound dismal? Imagine further that the team is extremely grateful for the single victory.

In many ways, this is like team corrections in the realm of contraband control. Of course for sports team statistics mean something different than how we account corrections contraband control. We simply do not know how many games we are involved in. In the course of the year, if we find no contraband, we may have a ridiculously unbalanced 10,000 loss to zero win ratio. But there is no way to clearly know that.

Still, it behooves us to assess the quantity of contraband found and the method of its transport. Doing so may allow us to ask additional questions and discover additional clues. Our inquiry process may lead us to another win in the game the safety.

Contraband delivery styles vary. For example, there are many ways to send illicit tobacco to segregation units. It can be passed from outside mail concealed in a hollowed “legal brief”. Tobacco may be placed in a food tray and inadvertently serve to mates by staff. It can also be moved to drop the past location through a variety prisoner hands and finally to an agreed upon place by an interested party.

Whatever the method of transport, we should also consider the nuances of the amount of contraband sent.

Test amount – a little amount can be sent to gauge if the method of transport is safe. The ultimate question of the trader is “Will it be detected by staff or competing interests?” If a prisoner or prisoner groups test the method and it is deemed a secure manner of exchange, then more contraband can be added in the future.

A small quantity of contraband may be sent to purchasing parties for variety of reasons. Perhaps it is all that the trader has to sell. Or the request is just for a small quantity. Also, the quantity may be rooted in caution. The less material hidden, the less likely is to be found. Or perhaps a conservative trader reasons that profits are more likely to be had through smaller, more frequent quantities. This could buttress the illusion that there are limited quantities and that buying in bulk is not possible.

Maximum quantities – a large load of contraband may be sent by the less than cautious trader. The contrabandists may be looking to maximize profits by flooding the market and controlling the prices. The motive to send copious amounts of contraband may also be rooted in desperation. Perhaps someone prefers to pay debt quickly from another transaction. This may be to stave off compounded interest or physical injury.

Some victories in corrections are less clear. For example how do we measure safety? How do we know that staff, prisoners, and the public are safer than yesterday? This is an elusive goal. Perhaps we can define the victory in the continuing battle for security as a single illicit item removed from circulation. Though we have no way of knowing how far that item will go against safety, is removal represents a win.

Though the numbers are depressingly low, we can take solace in a single win. There many small building blocks that comprise the foundation corrections safety. One the most important ones of these is contraband control. Little successes in this quarter promote the ultimate definition in corrections safety. It is a successful day in corrections where everyone goes home in one piece, unhurt.

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