As prison inmates increasingly run criminal enterprises, order hits, and direct drug dealing from behind bars, corrections officials are turning to a new weapon: dogs, The Tennessean reports. The Tennessee corrections department plans to train three drug-sniffing dogs to add cell phones to their olfactory arsenals in a growing war against prison contraband.
Nationwide, prisons and jails have struggled to stop inmates from sneaking in cell phones and continuing to commit crimes while imprisoned. “We probably will find one at least once a week here, sometimes more often,” said Ricky Bell, warden of Riverbend Maximum Security Institution, which hosts Tennessee’s most dangerous inmates. “We get reports from people in the community that they’re getting threatening phone calls. That happens pretty often.” In the last year alone, Tennessee confiscated 1,684 cell phones at 12 state prisons.