Federal prisons cannot effectively track seizures of weapons, drugs, cellphones and other contraband because officials lack a fully functional data collection system, says a Justice Department inspector general’s report quoted by USA Today. The study said the U.S. Bureau of Prisons has for 13 years operated without a universal policy on searches of staff members for possible contraband. The search policy has been mired in a dispute with the prison labor union, which has repeatedly challenged bureau proposals.
Incomplete records show instances of weapons and narcotics seizures increasing. Between 2012 and 2014, weapons recoveries were up 5 percent, from 2,289 to 2,410, while the number of narcotics recoveries increased by 57 percent, from 993 to 1,566. While cellphones represented the most common form of contraband, seizures declined during the same period, from 3,506 to 2,362. The prison bureau pledged to develop a tracking system designed to account for all seizures.