Cell Phone smuggling in Richmond County jails have decreased

Augusta, GA (WJBF) – Richmond County inmates aren’t allowed  to have cell phones, but the gadgets keep making their way behind bars.

“Our biggest threat is our weapons and cell phones, that’s the two biggest things we look for,” said Capt. Lance Peebles, Director of Security at The Richmond County Correctional Institute.

But those threats may be decreasing thanks to new technology and more vigilance. Richmond County Jail Warden Evan Joseph says the addition of 32 new cameras and more random inmate searches are helping to keep down the number of illegal cell phones found behind bars.

“Everyday other day sometimes we mix them up, sometimes we come on weekends.. so we try to do searches unannounced as possible and that has helped,” said Evan Joseph, Warden at The Richmond County Correctional Institute.

“We do various shakedowns in the dormitory, the housing that the inmates stay in.. making the institution safe for the staff as well as the inmates,” said Capt. Lance Peebles, Director of Security at The Richmond County Correctional Institute.

Jailers say there are several reasons why inmates want illegal phones.

“They arrange to have contraband dropped off and various locations, they will also organize having escapes,” said Capt. Lance Peebles, Director of Security at The Richmond County Correctional Institute.

“The average inmate is not going to call his grandmother with a cell phone.. he’s gonna try to participate in illegal activity using a cell phone so that’s why it’s a public safety issue for us,” said Evan Joseph, Warden at The Richmond County Correctional Institute.

The warden says security is the number one priority and that they take cell phone checks seriously.

“One of the main reasons the number have decrease is we have actually increased the number of searches that we have done in the facility,” said Evan Joseph, Warden at The Richmond County Correctional Institute.

“Anything from cell phones, drugs tobacco, weapons, double a batteries. One cell phone can cost of trouble in this prison,” said  said Capt. Lance Peebles, Director of Security at The Richmond County Correctional Institute.

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