One of the biggest issues that I have working in our local jail is dealing with the gangs. The higher-level gang members who are behind bars are still conducting business as if they were on the streets. These inmates not only control what the low-level gang members do on the street, they do the same to those in jail. This makes for a very tense and dangerous situation for law enforcement.
Even though we separate the gangs in the jail to try and keep the peace, orders are still handed down for gang members to commit violence to one another. We spend the better part of some days looking for weapons on the inmates, in their cells, and hidden around the jail. It is not uncommon for weapons to be hid in the yard the day before a hit is ordered.
We try to check every visitor for contraband before they meet the inmates, but gang members have developed some very creative ways to get what they need. When we were told to start using the Securus Technologies inmate call system to monitor gang activity, we were exposed to information we never knew we had access to. The LBS software allowed us to pick up chatter between inmates that in the past was coded in a way to keep us off the trail.
One day while monitoring the Securus Technologies system, we overheard a top-level gang member talking about getting supplies from the metal shop that was going to be crafted to a weapon. The weapon was to be stored at the fence in the yard, and the person retrieving the weapon was to use it on a rival gang member. These gang conversations were key in us getting this situation under control before anything occurred.
We use the inmate call system today to stay one step ahead of gang violence.