One of the things that is a given in any jail is violence. In our jail, we have a number of gangs here that do not get along with other inmates. If you arrive in jail without a gang affiliation and just want to do your time, these gang members can make things very difficult for you.
I have seen where gang members will assault a rival gang member in jail just days before they are to be released in the hopes of extending the sentence due to fighting. It is becoming harder to break up these fights because not only do we not know when the call comes in from gang leaders to make the hit, we can’t seem to stop the flow of weapons getting into the jail.
Weapons not only put those inmates at risk, we as corrections officers are right in the line of fire. We do have several techniques for helping to get a lead on gang violence, but the criminals are always one step ahead.
Even though we have informants and we can monitor the calls the inmates are making, they speak in their own gang languages, so by the time we crack the code, the violence has occurred. When Securus Technologies said they could help us with our problem, we jumped at the chance to get the new communication system up and running.
Once I was trained to operate the software, right away I could hear things differently. Now we were hearing conversations between gang leaders and soldiers who were to carry out the violence. This was very helpful in us not only stopping the violence, but getting the leaders to have to find another way to communicate.
Since the system was installed, we have seen a huge drop in gang violence in our jail.