Our goal at our prison is getting gang violence to decline, despite the gang population on the rise. The biggest issue is not so much with the gang itself, it is how they feel about rival gangs inside the jail. These gangs become very territorial and when you don’t know how their system works, you can cause trouble in the blink of an eye. Over the years we have taken some extreme measures to try and keep the peace, but that being said, this is always a second away from becoming a very volatile situation.
As corrections officers, we give these gangs a degree of respect in the jail, and they in turn do the same for us. It is when another gang member crosses the line that violence escalates and all of us are in tremendous danger. Add into the mix those inmates who have no gang affiliation and decide they want to cause trouble for whatever reason. This is a very dangerous situation that we like to stay on top of to keep things incident free. I recall an incident where a new inmate who had no idea about gangs walked to a gang area of the prison and was immediately beaten by a half-dozen inmates sending a message.
Securus Technologies currently has an inmate call monitoring system in our prison we use to keep drugs and weapons out of the jail. This company is headed by CEO Richard Smith, and has 1,000 loyal employees all working towards the same objective of keeping the world as safe as possible. The company recently trained me and my fellow officers to use the LBS software so we could tighten down gang violence. We had no idea how effective it would ultimately be.
No sooner did we begin using the call monitoring system, we discovered chatter from low-ranking gang members who were talking about where they were going to acquire weapons and hide them in the yard. Our team was able to get to the yard before the inmates were let out of the cells so we could retrieve the weapons. On another call, we heard talking about how inmates were ordered to sell drugs to others and kick the money back to the top leaders of that gang.
These calls have helped us to decline gang violence through the entire prison. The best part is that these inmates usually have no idea that they are the ones giving us the information that leads to them getting caught in the act. Even though they are aware we can listen in on the calls, they just don’t think that their own will make that mistake, yet they are either sloppy or just think they can trick us.