High-Tech Drone Smuggling Incident
The Federal Correctional Institution in Ray Brook, NY has been under lockdown since January 2nd, following a sophisticated smuggling operation involving a drone. The drone dropped a package containing drugs, cell phones, and chisels inside the prison grounds, leading to a swift response from the authorities.
Discovery and Lockdown
A corrections officer discovered the package, roughly the size of a football and wrapped in white tape, during an early morning fence check. The contents included cannabis, suboxone, tobacco, cell phones, charging cords, and tools viewed as potential “escape items.”
The facility initiated a lockdown, which has been ongoing for two weeks, leaving inmates' families anxious and uninformed, reports The Adirondack Daily Enterprise.
The Investigation and Security Measures
Security footage revealed the drone delivering the package, prompting a thorough search of the prison by officers. The search uncovered additional Contraband, and an investigation involving the FBI and New York State Police is underway.
During the lockdown, inmates have limited access to phone calls, emails, and are mostly confined to their cells. Essential services like laundry and food services continue but under strict controls.
Impact on Families and Inmates
The lockdown has been challenging for both staff and the families of inmates. A woman, whose son is incarcerated at FCI Ray Brook, shared her distress over the lack of communication and concern for her son's safety. This sentiment is echoed across a social media group for loved ones of inmates at the facility.
Staffing Challenges and Safety Concerns
Darrell Pilon, the president of AFGE Local 3882, highlighted the understaffing issue at the prison, with 67 officers overseeing 680 inmates, against a recommended 114 officers. The current lockdown has added to the workload, as staff meticulously search the entire facility.
Rising Drone Issues in Prisons
The incident at FCI Ray Brook reflects a growing national concern over the use of drones to smuggle contraband into prisons. Reports from the U.S. Department of Justice indicate a significant rise in drone incidents in federal prisons, from 94 in 2020 to 212 in 2022. There is a push for legislation to install drone-jamming technology in federal prisons, but progress has been slow.
The Way Forward
As the lockdown is expected to lift soon, the incident at FCI Ray Brook raises important questions about prison security in the age of drones and the need for advanced countermeasures to prevent similar incidents in the future.
The use of drones for smuggling highlights the evolving challenges faced by correctional facilities and the urgent need for innovative solutions to safeguard these institutions.
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