Drones Are Being Used To Fly Drugs, Porn, And Mobile Phones Into Prisons
A consumer drone in flight.

Drones Are Being Used To Fly Drugs, Porn, And Mobile Phones Into Prisons

Drones are undeniably one of the most exciting technological developments in technology in recent years, and they’re now available to consumers, often at a relatively cheap price point. However, that’s proving problematic for U.S. prisons, with a new report suggesting that drones are being used to smuggle drugs, porn, and mobile phones into prisons across the country.

The report from USA Today found that drones have been used more than a dozen times to fly contraband into federal prisons over the last five years. However, those numbers are only expected to grow as prison inmates see drones as a quick and easy way to smuggle contraband like drugs, porn, and mobile phones into federal correctional facilities.

Documents released by the Justice Department show numerous attempts to smuggle various different forms of contraband into federal facilities. However, the tally doesn’t take into account any successful attempts to smuggle contraband without being detected by prison security, meaning that the numbers could be considerably higher.

Drones are becoming a popular method of smuggling for prison inmates, largely because prison security just isn’t equipped with anti-drone technology. Many small unmanned aerial devices are able to make it into prison facilities undetected and carrying dangerous items, including firearms, which are almost impossible to sneak in via traditional prison smuggling methods. The issue is made even worse when you consider that no statute currently bars drones from flying near correctional facilities.

Prison security at a facility in California.
Prison security at a facility in California. [Image by Michal Czerwonka/Getty Images]

In one particular instance at a high-security federal prison in Victorville, California, inmates recruited someone with a drone to fly two mobile phones into the facility in March 2015. However, considering the drones managed to enter the prison seemingly undetected, officials didn’t discover the transfer of illegal goods for five months.

The issue isn’t one isolated to just the United States, either. According to the Verge, in the United Kingdom, one prison has deployed a system that deflects any drone that might fly over perimeter walls by sending a series of sensors to jam the drone’s computer and block its frequency. That being said, it’s unclear how effective the method is as of yet.

DHL demonstrating a drone being used for delivery.
DHL demonstrating a drone being used for delivery. [Image by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images]

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons, meanwhile, has posted requests for similar technology that could be used to stop from flying in airspace near facilities.

[Featured Image by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images]

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