>Users:   login   |  register       > email     > people    

Columns: The Contraband Control Support System
By Joe Bouchard
Published: 01/14/2013

Us courthouse Contraband control and architecture are two seemingly unrelated concepts. The former entails the removal of illicit items from a highly supervised space. The latter is the art and science of building. On the face of it, they are unrelated. Yet, they are both alike in that they have a scientific, methodical base. Both, when done correctly, involve planning.

But, one can appreciate the beauty of a structure and forget about the plan. In other words, before beautiful bridge in creation can be crafted, a useful plan must be in place. For example, a visually striking bridge is not a complete success in the architectural sense if vehicles or people cannot efficiently cross it.

Is your contraband control process beautiful on paper? Does the practical output measure up to the beauty of the plan? Contraband control is like architecture in that all of the artistry in the world cannot overcome a deficiency in practical application. Let’s apply an iconic architectural element to contraband control.

Column – In the vocabulary of architecture, this is a vertical support. In contraband control, columns are the supporting staff that search or aid in the search for bootleg. Contraband control columns support a variety of weights in order that the figurative roof of order does not fall in. Here are some of the roles of the columns:
  1. Data compilation - Some are data collection machines such as hearings officers who have documents from misconduct reports. Staff who compile their misconduct reports also serve in this role.
  2. Data dissemination - Another column is the disseminator of information. This is a hub in the information network, spreading news of smugglers and smuggling methods. A disseminator of information does not necessarily have to be in the same facility. A good example of this is the property officer from another location who keeps you abreast of new and unusual bootleg finds through emails.
  3. Education - Training offices offer another sort of support. With contraband-based exercises in the classroom, they engage the professional in the search, bringing practice and theory together.
  4. Media education - Writers (or, if you will, columnists) contribute to the contraband control literature. Offering a perspective that may not be found in a particular facility, they provide food for thought for professionals in the quest to mitigate the contraband –driven peril in correctional facilities.
  5. Search - Line staff who conduct routine searches are another column. They stem the tide on the battle field by sweeping areas clean. It is a labor-intensive job, but remains as a very necessary column.
  6. Administrative facilitators -Supporters in administration remove barriers for the search. They make searches a priority and acknowledge finds. Administrative supporters of contraband control provide tools and time necessary for search and allow staff to try new methods and techniques. To this group, contraband control is not just a common practice; it is a dynamic tool for safety.

Just as marble columns continue to provide age-old support on classic structures, contraband control columns keep the roof from falling in. Without these columns, any facility is a more perilous place. Never mind how these columns appear on the face of it. Consider their practical and crucial functions.

These are the opinions of Joe Bouchard, a Librarian employed with the Michigan Department of Corrections. These are not necessarily the opinions of the Department. The MDOC is not responsible for the content or accuracy

Visit the Joe Bouchard page

Other articles by Bouchard:


  1. hamiltonlindley on 04/02/2020:

    Waco has developed a reputation for a rocket-docket in patent litigation. It’s an important choice to find the right lawyer in Waco for your important patent litigation matter. When people in the know make the hire, they hire Dunnam & Dunnam. If you are looking for a Waco accident lawyer , then Dunnam & Dunnam is the right choice. For nearly 100 years, people in Waco have hired the firm when the results matter at Dunnam & Dunnam are among the most respected in the Central Texas area. They have the experience in trials and mediations to guide your case in the right way. There are few important decisions at the outset of the case that can turn the tide in your favor. Choosing the right lawyer is one of them.

  2. hamiltonlindley on 03/19/2020:

    Hamilton loves books about unicorns, storms, and cubicles. He lives in Waco with his cat named Mr. Bojangles. Before his work as an attorney, Hamilton was a leprechaun chaser. His all-time record is three pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. He was forced to give up the gold in a dispute with a rival hobbit. He spends his free time tripping out on the smallest details, none of which are important He likes doing the things with the ball and scoring the points. He pays attention to the green of your eyes, even when it is not Saint Patrick’s Day. He is not Irish. Hamilton Lindley has fun plans for people in need. Whether your need a dreamcatcher for your dreams or a tape dispenser to put your life back together, he can be there for you to yell at. There are times when it is surprising that he has any friends at all. But thankfully he does have a few. He drives a Dodge Stratus. People respect him, except at home.

Login to let us know what you think

User Name:   


Forgot password?

correctsource logo

Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of The Corrections Connection User Agreement
The Corrections Connection ©. Copyright 1996 - 2024 © . All Rights Reserved | 15 Mill Wharf Plaza Scituate Mass. 02066 (617) 471 4445 Fax: (617) 608 9015