Inmates Are Using Drones To Smuggle Drugs, Porn, and Phones Into Prison

Unless laws or prison security changes, firearms could be next.

Inmates in prisons across the country are using drones to smuggle contraband into prison, reports USA Today. I have to admit that my first reaction was that this is kind of brilliant, but experts say that this vulnerability could make prisons less safe.

A Freedom of Information Act request by USA Today uncovered more than a dozen attempts to bring contraband such as drugs, porn, and phones into federal prisons via drones—and experts warn that this could be a potential security risk, since drones could be used to transport more dangerous items, such as firearms.

For now, however, more mundane comforts are being smuggled. One inmate at a high-security federal prison in California worked with a friend outside the prison to smuggle in two cell phones via drone—a violation that wasn’t discovered for five months.

"Civilian drones are becoming more inexpensive, easy to operate and powerful. A growing number of criminals seem to be recognizing their potential value as tools for bad deeds," said Troy Rule, a drone legislation advocate and Arizona State University law professor, to USA Today.

Smuggling contraband into prisons is illegal, but there reportedly is no law on the books about flying drones near correctional facilities. However, one pending Senate bill, the Drone Federalism Act, would make it easier for states to enact and enforce drone regulation laws.

There are other measures that correctional facilities can take without a change in laws, including the use of anti-drone jammers, which interfere with drone's signals, and digital protective shields, which deflect drones by hacking into their operating systems.

[Image: Getty]

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