Inspections at Washington, D.C.’ jail over the past three years have uncovered Swiss Army knives, steak knives, saw blades, and even a 22-inch machete, the Washington Post reports. Small weapons, as well as drugs, are tucked inside tennis balls and thrown over the jail fence and into the recreation yard, corrections Director Odie Washington said. Weapons are smuggled in by visitors, contractors, and employees.
On Saturday, an inmate fired a handgun and wounded four prisoners. Officials are investigating how the inmate obtained the gun, the first such case at the jail in recent memory. The weapon was later found in a trash can.
The jail searches everyone entering, including staff. Officers do not carry weapons in the jail. Every day, the jail conducts a random inspection of at least five cells. Sometimes, as is the case now, the entire jail is locked down and a more systematic search is conducted.
Items that appear to have been smuggled into the jail, which houses 2,200 inmates, include flathead screwdrivers, Allen wrenches, bullets, nails, syringes, saw blades, and scissors. City Council member Adrian M. Fenty expressed concerns about Saturday’s incident. “Clearly, somebody was asleep at the switch,” he said. “You can’t get a gun in a municipal building in the city, but you can get one in the jail? It’s just unacceptable.”