Technology in Corrections - Drones
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"BISHOPVILLE, S.C. — During the graveyard shift at 1:44 a.m., security cameras at the prison here picked up the blinking lights of an unidentified flying object approaching the facility’s fence. A corrections officer was dispatched to investigate, but by the time she got there, all she could see was a man running away into the dense forest that surrounds the prison."
"Piloted by an unseen operator in central North Carolina, a drone crashed inside a prison fence. A tightly wrapped package – containing a cellphone, tobacco and other contraband apparently intended for inmates – was tethered to the aircraft during that 2015 flight.
"Creating change in the criminal justice field does not often go over well. But, like life, change in law enforcement is inevitable. Both crime and crime-prevention strategies are always evolving in response to technological advances. One of the more recent and highly prolific technological developments involves unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), more commonly known as drones. These airborne devices have quickly become an effective tool for criminal activity. Drones are currently being exploited to commit criminal acts and law enforcement agencies must acquire countermeasures to minimize how drones are being used to facilitate illegal activities."
This website is a great resource for recent news about the use of drones to get contraband into prisons and jails by dropping it into exercise yards and other exterior areas. Proposed and current legislation regarding drones is covered, as is use of drones by correctional agencies.
"There is evidence of a considerable increase in the unauthorized use of small, inexpensive Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS or “drones”) by individuals and organizations, including companies. The FAA retains the responsibility for enforcing Federal Aviation Regulations, including those applicable to the use of UAS. The agency recognizes though that State and local Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA) are often in the best position to deter, detect, immediately investigate, 1 and, as appropriate, 2 pursue enforcement actions to stop unauthorized or unsafe UAS operations. The information provided below is intended to
support the partnership between the FAA and LEAs in addressing these activities."
Basic Law Enforcement Response D.R.O.N.E. & FAA drone incident reporting cheat sheets.
"Legal drone delivery may still be a ways off, but quadcopters have been smuggling contraband into prisons for years now. Quadcopters are cheap enough and powerful enough to carry a few pounds of goods, like cigarettes, knives, cell phones, or drugs over a prison fence, and they're sometimes even recovered from the drop to do it again. Prisons, which understandably don’t want drones to do this, are now looking for ways to keep the robots out."
"It was your usual stockpile of prison contraband: six tightly wrapped packages filled with drugs, tobacco, rolling papers, and porn. But instead of smuggling them into prison the traditional ways (employees, visitors, baked goods), Maryland inmate Charles Brooks arranged to have a drone fly the cargo over a 12-foot barbed-wire fence and drop them in the yard. Drone smuggling operations are an increasing nuisance to correctional facilities around the world. Most prisons are fortified with spotlights, armed guards, and cameras, but have don't have the technology to detect unmanned aerial vehicles."
Minnesota Department Of Corrections - Policy and procedures on the management of drones.