What is considered ‘contraband’ in Mississippi prisons?

Your best friend, boyfriend, brother or spouse ended up in prison — and you just want to slip them something to make their time a little more comfortable. You’re thinking about passing them a few pain pills on your next visit. Maybe you’re working in a correctional facility and you’ve been offered a lot of money just to sneak a prisoner a cellphone. It’s tempting.

Don’t do it. The introduction of contraband into a correctional facility is a felony in Mississippi, and the odds are quite high that you’ll get caught. Contraband is generally defined as anything that’s not pre-approved, including things like:

  • Cash and gift cards (except what you put on a prisoner’s books)
  • Food or clothing that prisoners aren’t permitted to keep in their cells
  • Letters, messages and other kinds of correspondence that goes around the normal procedures
  • Alcohol, narcotics, stimulants, sleeping pills and over-the-counter medications
  • Cellphones or the components that can be used to make a cellphone
  • Weapons and anything that can be used to make a weapon

The rules regarding contraband are strictly enforced. Mississippi has enacted numerous measures to try to keep contraband out of the jails and prisons, including the use of weekly searches, wi-fi detection, cellular signal-blocking technology and dogs that are trained to sniff out cellphones.

If you’re caught bringing contraband in to a correctional facility, you face a minimum of three years in prison — and you can serve 15. That being said, mistakes do happen. People have been charged for accidentally carrying a forbidden item with them on visitation to a loved one and under other circumstances — and defenses are available. If you’re facing charges, make sure that you have an experienced attorney by your side.