CARLISLE, Ark. - Living the retired life for Anthony Melcher is hard when the problem he sees is dire.
"It'll get you killed," he says.
The former Arkansas Correction Officer says a lot of the contraband found inside prisons is being smuggled in by the people sworn to protect them.
"Mainly through officers bringing things in on their body or their person," says Melcher.
Melcher says drugs like marijuana and K2, cigarettes and cell phones parts are being brought in.
"Through their lunch, in between sandwiches -- that's been found. There's even been a mock lunch that had compartments in it," says Melcher.
Melcher provided some documents that show multiple cell phones that an inmate attempted to get in a few years ago.
Arkansas Department of Correction Spokesperson Solomon Graves released a statement Thursday:
“The Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC) will fully investigate and appropriately respond, including advocating for criminal prosecution, to any attempts to introduce, manufacture, possess and/or convey contraband; regardless of the source. Efforts to reduce the presence of contraband, including drugs and cell phones for example, in its facilities are a continuous part of ADC operations. These efforts include various search and surveillance methods that are both active and passive. Finally, the previously announced upgrades of security equipment in entrance buildings, and other areas, throughout the Department will further assist in interdiction efforts.”
"There's the jobs there but there's not the people to fill the positions," says Melcher.
Melcher says it takes the right person for the job, someone dedicated and not easily manipulated.
Some 2013 ADC documents report officers doing a "terrible job" doing a strip search of someone. The inmate was later caught through a metal detector bringing contraband into the Maximum Security Unit.
"Once they've [inmates] got you to bring things in, you face that chance that if you stop that inmate or inmates could hurt you severely," says Melcher.
He says every time contraband makes it way through the gate, someone's life is on the line.
"Your life can be taken in a split second," he says.
Melcher says he's witnessed Correction Officers be escorted out by State Police after trying to smuggle items into the prison.
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