Morgan County Jail changing procedures in efforts to prevent contraband behind bars

DECATUR, Ala. - People use all kinds of strategies to smuggle contraband into jails.

The Morgan County Sheriff's Office says one of the most common ways is through the mail.

"There have been times when folks have been very creative, whether it's been putting narcotics on the stamp, whether its actually soaking the paper in something," explained Morgan County Sheriff's Office Spokesperson Mike Swafford.

Friday, the jail installed a simple new tool that will prevent inmates from coming in contact with any physical mail.

"In the past, it would be opened, reviewed and then handed off to the inmate," Swafford explained. "With this scanner, it'll be opened, reviewed, and then we'll just scan it into the machine. The inmate will be able to pull it up right here in the video visitation system."

Jail officials say sometimes inmates also get creative when they can't get things from the outside.

"Something as small as an apple can become contraband in a jail. Hand sanitizer, that if someone comes across it, that can be drunk to get that next high," added Swafford.

So, what happens when an inmate is found in possession of something illegal?

Swafford said consequences may vary.

"Depending on what it is, where it came from, how it got here and what they tell us dictates the consequences," he added. "Promoting prison contraband is an additional charge, it adds time, it adds court."

Morgan County Jail said its primary goal is to promote as safe of an environment as possible.

That starts with keeping problematic items and behavior on the outside.

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