An officer at the Miami Correctional Facility was arrested Monday while allegedly attempting to smuggle a large amount of Suboxone and other illegal drugs into the prison. Police apprehended 21-year-old Heaven Fair on Highway 218 in Cass County, IN, after receiving a tip regarding possible drug trafficking the previous Saturday.
Fair was cooperative when police pulled her over, and a search of her vehicle and person resulted in the discovery of roughly 164 Suboxone strips. The drug task force also managed to recover around 29 grams of crystal methamphetamine left behind in Fair’s apartment after she admitted to officers that she had been concealing drugs there as well.
According to Fox News, members of the Cass County Drug Taskforce also discovered handwritten letters to Fair from inmates living in the Miami Correctional Facility that detailed the drug trafficking process. It was unclear just how long she had been taking drugs into the prison, but the amount recovered on her person was very significant.
Fair was transported to the Cass County jail, and remains incarcerated on charges of dealing and possession of methamphetamine, maintaining a common nuisance, dealing of a schedule III substance, and possession of a schedule III substance.
This isn’t the first time that the Miami Correctional Facility has dealt with an influx of illegal drugs and contraband being introduced by its employees. There are reports going back to 2015 — when officer Brandon Walker was arrested for drug trafficking — that show a long and documented history of correctional employees turning into criminals themselves.
In 2017, Von-Reese K. Perry was arrested for sexual misconduct with an inmate and trafficking while working for the correctional facility’s food service provider Aramark. According to reports by the Herald Bulletin, the superintendent of the Miami Correctional Facility, Kathy Griffin, made a statement, saying, “We take any alleged misconduct by staff very seriously and our investigation and intelligence division works diligently to ensure the safety and security of all.”
Unfortunately, the prison saw other arrests for similar charges in 2017, and the behavior hasn’t been deterred by cautionary tales or legal consequences. Some citizens blame lax hiring requirements which often allow people who have misdemeanor convictions or questionable backgrounds to become full-fledged prison guards.
According to CorrectionalOfficerEDU.org, a correctional officer only needs to fulfill these criteria in order to successfully apply for the position:
-Be at least 21 years old, and have a high school diploma or the equivalent.
-Be a U.S. citizen (which may be waived under certain circumstances).
-Have no felony or “serious” misdemeanor convictions.
-Have a financial history without “serious improprieties.”
There is no easy answer for this problem. Many correctional facilities are dealing with a growing inmate population driven by local drug addiction and a variety of other offenses. This results in a need to hire officers at a pace that may not allow for the level of caution needed to prevent these types of situations.