OCCC clearing out contraband
A pair of Oahu correctional centers have taken a clear step in cutting down on contraband that reaches inmates.
Illegal drugs and weapons are a problem in the community, but they pose even more of a problem and danger behind bars.
That is why a pair of Oahu correctional centers have taken a clear step in cutting down on contraband that reaches inmates.
Fences and gates around the Oahu Community Correctional Center not only keep inmates and detainees inside, they can also keep contraband from getting in.
In the past though, many items have made their way in.
"It can range from anything from tobacco based items, all the way to weapons," said OCCC Warden Francis Sequeira.
Last year, OCCC cut down on the contraband given to inmates during visits, by physically separating people from prisoners.
"We saw the curtailing of contraband because of the non-contact nature. Visitors are searched more stringent, and it really curtailed the thinking of bringing contraband in."
Now, the latest effort to crack down on contraband requires anyone who visits, along with volunteers or OCCC workers, to bring belongings in clear bags.
"It is a blanket policy for anyone who wants to enter the facility, staff and visitors alike."
In the past, there have been problems with OCCC workers bringing in contraband, leading to investigations and even arrests.
Sequeira said now they will see what employees have.
"We'd like to see what you're bringing in on a daily basis for the work hours that you would be here. Is it all work-related or personal-related that is reasonable? If it is not, they are going to have to explain."
There are numerous signs now posted on the size of the clear bag allowed, the requirement that drinks be factor sealed, and food carried in see through containers. So far, according to the warden, people have gotten the message.
"It is reasonable when dealing with staff and visitors you know if is not allowed entry.
It is a little more alarming when we have a repeat offenders."
According to Sequeira, this is one of the last steps to monitor what comes in, along with surprise searches around OCCC.
"We'll do a check, randomly, throughout the facility to see how things are. Are there items that are contraband here?"
After establishing the clear bag procedure at the Halawa Correctional Facility and OCCC,
the Department of Public Safety would like to eventually implement it at all state facilities.