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Cell Searches


Subscribe to Cell Searches 24 posts, 18 voices

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Male user blacklaw1433 1 post

Inmates are instructed to sit in the day room away from their respective cell. They cannot witness and our policy states that two officers are needed to conduct a cell search.

Female user Lauren 5 posts

Inmates are shackled and cuffed within the cell (kneeling) or in a holding cell/cage during searches.

Getty rf photo of cat and praying mantis Campi 227 posts

Well I know searches are not happening as well as they should and not as often as they should at my prison and we currently are turning up cell phones, more hooch in the past year then I have seen my entire carrier, drugs and various kinds, tobacco which has been banned for years and this stuff is fresh, XXX porn and the DVD players to watch it as well as mags, more weapons then normal, oww and that’s just the serious stuff. Then we have minor contraband that just seems irrelevant in comparison.

Male user FIRST SERGEANT 6 posts

Sorry about that. Anyway, they are subject to be searched at any time. I wonder what kind of person would conceive the notion that a CO would need a warrant. If the inmate doesn’t like being searched, then maybe he shouldn’t have engaged in conduct that brought him or her into the system.

Male user FIRST SERGEANT 6 posts

It’s simple. Once a person is locked up, any perception or right to privacy is gone. They are subject to be

Male user RCJ 49 posts

Knuckle Dragger, I couldn’t agree more as your post was very well said. It is hard enough to do this job being short on staff, meaning less eyes on the inmates. Our ability to do our jobs does not need to be hampered anymore than it already is. Needing permission to search an inmates cell would be another tool taken away from the officers and contrand would be even more out of control. In response to dayz, contraband is a major problem in a facility and needs to be kept in check. Contraband will never be eliminated, but if you can’t search for it life inside the walls will become much more dangerous.Extortion, weapons, drugs, phones, along with the rest of the Black Market inside a facility would soar to an existance beyond anyones imagination.

Barney fife 238x300 knuckle dragger 42 posts

Mr. Ohnstad, I like your analogy and I do agree with your statement but for the life of me I can’t find that Minnesota statute. In the past 24 years with numerous pat searches and cell shakedowns not once did I ever consider I should ask permission or obtain a warrant. The inmates are a ward of the state or county and in being so are under our policies and statutes. For officers to protect inmates and staff this application of cell searches and body searches are a main derivative of keeping it so. Even with daily searches many things can be missed. During periodic lockdowns for the first hour or two you can hear the clanging of shanks and weapons being tossed into the pipe chases through the cell air vents. In the case of having warrants it would be catastrophic to the officers daily routine and the inmates would gain a even bigger foot hold on the system.

Flag1 1 shakeyjake 112 posts

The way I see it, if we are not allowed to search an inmate’s cell without a warrant, I agree with the others by what they have stated, we would have some inmates hiding contraband of all sorts, from little packs of sugar to shanks and secretively singing along to rap from Vanilla Ice. In reality we would still find this contraband in due time, only if the officers are on their job, by just observing the inmates in their area. A search warrant would only gain us access to an inmate’s cell if we had proof that the area in question has contraband in it, but in lieu of a search warrant PLAINVIEW laws step in and this goes back to the officers doing their job by monitoring the inmates activities. Then there’s TERRY VS OHIO, a temporary investigative detention and pat down search for possible weapons or contraband. So really we don’t need the warrant per say to weed out contraband we have the lesser laws that gives us a great flexibility to secure our Institutions all without trampling on the 4th amendment.

Peace out, Word to your mother….. ice, ice, baby.

Brett in control Brett.Ohnstad 7 posts

Dayz, I am not envious of your lengthy project. It would be hard to argue against the obvious, but i think in this case it will provide valuable insight. Correctional officers need to provide for the safety and security of the facility and all who are present, including vendors, visitors, staff, and the incarcerated. Providing for safety and security trumps civil liberties that may be enjoyed outside of the facility and searches are not exclusive to the inmates alone. Visitors and staff may also be open to being inspected.
Most, if not all, states and provinces have legislative provisions that mandate searches and inspections as blanket coverage in lieu of a requirement for an individual search warrant being acquired for each case. For example Minnesota has a section in statutes titled 2911.5300 Searches, Shakedowns, and Contraband Control (searched at https://www.revisor.mn.gov/pubs/) which makes a facility within the state responsible for conducting said searches. (MN Administrative Rules found at https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/rules/?id=2911 and supporting statutes https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/statutes/?id=243.55&year=2012 post revised 7/23/2013)
Arguing for inmates to have the right to freedom from a warrantless search would be similar to arguing for the elimination of speed limits. As useful a tool as a speed limit may be I would suspect that a majority of drivers have broken that law without penalty on a number of occasions. However, if viewed from the perspective of someone who has received a speeding ticket, you too might understand why one would want to argue against the language of the law. It would be an attempt to reduce or eliminate a penalty
Putting oneself in the perspective of the incarcerated might help to see the meaning behind the purpose of your paper. It appears the goal is to encourage one to “think like an inmate”. Discovering the thought process now might assist you in the future when an inmate attempts to make an argument against policy and procedure. This too would be an attempt on the part of the inmate to reduce or eliminate a penalty. The officer’s job would be to identify the banality of the attempt no matter how cleverly disguised in fallacious logic

Male user commander 277 posts

In regard to dayz, there is no requirement for a warrant to search an Inmate’s cell. All cells are state property in Ohio and all staff are State employees. They came to prison for breaking the law. When they arrive, they are given an Inmate Handbook which explains all the rules and regulations including cell searches. Each cell block at SOCF in Lucasville, Ohio are required to shakedown at least 3 cells per day on 2nd and 3rd shift. The primary reason is health, safety and sanitation. We look for any and all contraband such as, food items not permitted, weapons, drugs, cell phones and etc. The Inmates don’t have a choice in the matter. If you had to get a search warrant, it would be time consuming and would present a major threat to the security of an Institution. It would take time to get and serve a search warrant thus giving the Inmate the opportunity to get rid of the contraband. As I said, they are living in a State Cell, in a State Prison and are not paying rent. Therefore, they are not entitled to the same rights as an Individual paying mortgage payments or rent on a home or room on the street. Besides, if you are not convicted and locked up in a jail and or prison, you are to be considered innocent until proven guilty. That is why you are afforded the 4th amendment rights to legal search and seizure.

Male user Alex 16 posts

More to the previous discussion when we do searches we cuff the inmates before we open the cells. The searches are down by two officers and one watches the inmate while the other searches. This helps avoid the inmate cornering you in the cell and makes it harder for him to pull any weapons or anything he may have hidden on himself before the door is open. One of my past managers tried telling us to do cell “inspections” where on our regular rounds we’d just pop in and take a quick look around the cell while the inmates were all out on the range. This never flew with staff and the order was basically refused. She tried saying it was not dangerous then I found a recent (at the time) story of a CO getting shanked somewhere in the northern US while doing one of these things and when his partner went to help him he was swarmed by inmates just freely mulling around. We asked her what the Union would think of the article and she never brought it up again. It should be noted we are not issued vests in the institution for regular duty.

Male user Alex 16 posts

First of all check if your prof will allow this forum as a reference. Technically you can’t be sure anyone here works in corrections as there is no vetting. I had profs who would frown on that. Is it possible to interview someone at a local jail for you?

That said, and then for what it is worth if we did not do cell searches the inmates would simply collect all kinds of things they should not have from extra food which is an issues for: health, rot, and smell issues as well as issues with stockpiling for planned riots etc. Weapons which are an issues for everyone and drugs which are not just a danger to them but most of all to officers as dealing with a drugged up inmates is much dangerous than one who is not. These are just some of the reasons we have to search cells that pop into my head off the top.

You mention the project is called about “Correction Officers Should Not Conduct Warrantless Searches.” The title is confusing to me as we don’t require a warrant to do them. Now I’m up in Canada so can’t speak to laws in the US however we operate and incarcerate under the Corrections Act which gives us power to search anyone or anything at anytime on the jail property. Once you go to jail or even if you are not an inmate and enter a jail you are under another set of laws and some of your rights on the street are not the same. This applies more for inmate than visitors but for example I can still stop and search a visitors car on our property without any reason other than I feel like it whereas police on the street need at least some reason.

The short answer is we don’t need a warrant because the inmates do not own the cells, we do. I hate to use the analogy but if you are in a hotel and the management wants to search your room they don’t need permission from you (at least up here) since they are just searching their room. In the same way we can search inmate’s cells. We can just go a bit further but also searching their personal belongings whereas the hotel could not go through your bags.

Not sure if that makes sense or answers your questions.

Female user dayz 1 post

hello I am new here and I am studying criminal justice, I have a 30 page project to do about “Correction Officers Should Not Conduct Warrantless Searches.” I know that officers could do the searches but my essay is what if they could not search cells what would happen? I need your guys help to write the essay and for reference I will be using your site’s name

Male user commander 277 posts

We would make them go to the shower and lock them in prior to the shakedown. Never felt comfortable being on my hands and knees looking under the heating vent or bed with an Inmate standing in the doorway watching. Way to many use of force incidents due to that.

Female user Bosslady 1 post

Cell searches are mandatory three per shift and no the offender does not need to be present. I prefer they are not present as they can become quite confrontational.

Male user commander 277 posts

At my previous Prison, 3 cells in each block must be, per policy, shaken down everyday by 1st and 2nd shift. Most Officers shookdown 5 to 10. They keep a log in the cell block booth. Keeps track of who searched where.

Correction officer jamestown0509 313 posts

Cell searches are very important to control contraband and they should be done every day. We found that dayshift was much too busy to do them so they are mostly done on the second shift (3-11) and they are done randomly one block or dorm at a time. In the linear sections where the steel bars secure inmates we have been using a new tactic to prevent issues with troublemakers during cell searches. The inmates are searched in their cell or if we have enough officers taken out of the block or dorm and searched in a private room. If they are removed from the block they cannot re-enter until the block is thoroughly searched. When inmates remain in a linear block we make them come out of the cells and hold onto the bars with their backs toward their cells. There is no talking allowed at all. If any inmate talks he is removed immediately to a separate cell away from the unit. Cell searches can be done when the inmate is not present as long as you do not search their legal material (it has to be done in front of them).

Buckeye flag Mudflap 293 posts

Just to clarify, we have open bays (no cells). Still, a search can be (and is) done even if the inmate is not in the building.

Riot helmet Mick 307 posts

With us the inmate is First searched in the cell and then moved outside the cell while we search. That way he can’t interfere with the search.

Sgm Sergeant Major 53 posts

They go straight to the day room in my facility. Any BS on the way there and they get to take a detour to lockdown.

Northwest hounded police animated avatar 100x100 90714 prznboss 44 posts

I used to allow them to hang out outside the cell but years ago an inmate attempted to lock me in the cell one day so ever since then I made them wait in the day room until I was done.

Buckeye flag Mudflap 293 posts

Sorry, blondebadge. I forgot my manners. “Welcome to the zoo.”

Buckeye flag Mudflap 293 posts

At my particular joint, they don’t HAVE to be present, but they are allowed be in the area as long as they don’t attempt to interfere with the officer.

Female user blondebadge 1 post

Im new here..hello…in your facilities do the offenders have to be present during cell searches?

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