Drug Sweeps in Prison
Routine shakedowns for drugs or alcohol catch inmates by surprise, a prisoner tells The Fix.
In prisons nationwide, correctional officers directed by Special Investigation Specialists (SIS) may swoop in at any moment to search prisoners' belongings for drugs and alcohol. The searches are routine, but conducted at random, in order to catch inmates unprepared. Unlike in the "real world," authorities don't need a search warrant. "They came in my unit all ninja-like one time," a prisoner tells The Fix. "When the lights went on they were standing all around the unit in strategic positions shouting at us to get up and stand still." These searches may be prompted by a positive drug test, a guard smelling marijuana or alcohol or finding drug paraphernalia, or a tip from an insider. SIS staff tend to crack down while prisoners are sleeping, so they don't have time to hide or "keister" their stash. "Those cops were on us, we couldn't even go to our lockers or put on our clothes," the prisoner says. "They didn't give us the chance to grab nothing or even move. They shook us down one by one. A couple of my homeboys were hit. They had their stashes in their underwear or socks and couldn't get rid of it. That was a slick move those cops put down. They put us out on the yard and tore our unit apart." The SIS staff and correctional officers will thoroughly search, shakedown and sometimes even tear up a prisoner's belongings, often leaving a unit looking as if as if it were "hit by a tornado," the prisoner reports. "We don't have no rights in here," he says. "It's like the Gestapo. They just bust down your door and rip your shit apart like it's nothing."