A routine shakedown at Menard Correctional Center Friday turns up more than 10 weapons, and other items of contraband. Local law enforcement prevents these dangerous items from showing up in county jail.
According to Winnebago County Sheriff Dick Meyers, a few factors make it difficult for criminals to possess weapons inside the jail, but, that doesn't mean items aren't turning up during routine searches.
"Every now and then you'll find, especially for people arrested for narcotics on the street, narcotics on their person in about every body cavity imaginable." -says Sheriff Meyers.
He says narcotics are rarely found during the jail's weekly shakedowns, but, it is common to find drugs in the booking and pre-booking process. Officers find the majority of narcotics performing on the street searches and strip searches.
"Normally, the officers on the street do an excellent job of frisking people. Once in a while, something will slip through, and we try to catch it at the booking side." -says Meyers.
These problems are amplified in prisons for a few reasons. First, the criminal's length of stay. Most criminals who are arrested and taken to the Winnebago County jail aren't there for as long as inmates in a correctional facility. Also, prisoners have the resources to fashion makeshift weapons working in prison work shops and wood shops.
"We don't have those types of services inside the local jail, because most of our people are pending. They come in, they don't stay for a whole lot of time hopefully, they're either just bonded out, or those who do stay, they're not exposed to anything other than their cell block that they're in, so it's easier to control the movement of items like that throughout a local jail, more-so than a penitentiary." -says Meyers.
When items do slip through the booking and pre-booking process, they are usually intricately hidden on a criminal's person.
"There's not a body cavity on a male or female that we haven't found narcotics hidden." -says Meyers.
The Sheriff says his officers have seen narcotics hidden in places like under the tongue, inside false teeth, ear drums, and even woven into criminal's hair.
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