Some individuals who are going to jail or prison attempt to smuggle contraband into the facility, whether the prohibited items are cigarettes, drugs, cellphones, or weapons. Once incarcerated, individuals still may attempt to access contraband from friends and family members who come to visit them or send them mail. They also may attempt to get prohibited items from guards or jail staff members, usually in exchange for money or some other benefit. More recently, individuals have even used drones to deliver contraband to inmates in prison and jail yards and outdoor recreational areas.
While the inmates themselves can be charged with a crime or lose privileges or status due to being found with contraband, individuals who assist inmates in smuggling contraband into jails and prisons can face criminal charges, as well. According to Tex. Pen. Code § 38.11, it is illegal to provide, or possess with intent to provide, contraband to individuals in correctional facilities. These facilities include all city or county jails, state or privately-run prisons, and community correction facilities, such as halfway houses.
Smuggling Contraband into Jails and Prisons
Prohibited items include alcohol, controlled substances, dangerous drugs, deadly weapons, cell phones, money, and cigarettes or tobacco, unless it is a local jail that expressly permits inmates to have tobacco in certain areas or under certain circumstances. There also are exceptions to this offense for drugs prescribed to inmates by doctors and peace officers carrying weapons into these facilities.
Similarly, pursuant to Tex. Pen. Code § 38.114, it is a Class C misdemeanor to provide an incarcerated person with contraband, otherwise introduce it into a correctional facility, or possess it while incarcerated. However, the offense becomes a Class B misdemeanor if it is committed by an employee of or volunteer at the correctional facility.
The criminal defense lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the legal defense of countless individuals who are facing criminal charges, including charges relating to the smuggling of contraband into jails and prisons. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf in order to get the best outcome possible in your case. Call our office today at (512) 399-2311 to set up an appointment with our criminal defense attorneys today.