Conner Hanson Charged With Drug Use in Jail, Warden Weighs in on Contraband
20-year-old Conner Hanson appeared in court Monday morning for having and using drugs in his jail cell.
Court documents say Hanson and another inmate – identified as Gerson Alfredo Mejiacampos – are facing charges of possession and ingestion of methamphetamine.
The drug use allegedly happened this July, while the two were incarcerated.
Hanson also has a meth conviction out of Brookings County making him a “habitual offender.”
He pleaded not guilty to the two felony charges.
His trial is set for January of next year.
This case prompts the question of how the inmates were able to bring the drugs into the jail.
“The inmates spend a fair amount of their time trying to come up with ways to smuggle contraband into the facility. The jail staff spend a significant amount of time trying to prevent that.”
Minnehaha County Jail Warden Jeff Gromer says contraband is not uncommon in jails here and across the country.
“It’s a constant process of us evaluating what we’re seeing as attempts to smuggle items in to the jail, and what we can do to prevent it.”
What is considered contraband can fall into two categories: items inmates receive from commissary that they alter or prohibited items such as drugs and tobacco. Both, he says, are issues.
“Inmates are searched very, very regularly,” he said.
Bunks, possessions, and inmates are searched for contraband items routinely and randomly.
Inmates are also watched closely for ingestible contraband such as drugs.
“They’re constantly monitoring inmates, changes in behavior, changes in activity they get information from other inmates. It’s a constant process.”
But curbing the issue of drugs in jail comes with an extra task.
“A lot of the inmates that are in jail are here because of addiction issues to begin with. That addiction doesn’t stop just by the fact that they’re arrested so they still have a very strong drive to obtain the drugs, obtain the substances in the facilities.”
The jailhouse has counseling staff and services on hand to help inmates with addiction issues, but Gromer says that’s only *half the battle.
“Also the fact that a person has to want to not use drugs anymore for the treatment to be successful and i don’t really know that any treatment is successful if the person doesn’t want to stop.”