GREEN BAY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Brown County

New Wisconsin law makes smuggling contraband into jail for oneself illegal

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MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) – A bill authored by State Senator André Jacque (R – De Pere) that would help protect correctional officers and inmate well-being has been signed into law.

Act 111, previously Senate Bill 70, was approved by voice votes in both legislative chambers with bipartisan support, according to Sen. Jacque’s office.

“It’s vital that we ensure a safe prison system that allows for the rehabilitation of inmates in a secure environment and protects our correctional officers. Much work remains, but I am grateful for the assistance of those on the front lines who brought this to legislators’ attention, and I am honored to have the opportunity to help by eliminating this blatant loophole,” says Sen. Jacque.

The new law makes it illegal to smuggle contraband into jail for one’s own use. Previously, it was a crime to smuggle contraband into jail with the intention of transferring it to an inmate, but not to use it for oneself.

According to Sen. Jacque, proving that contraband had been smuggled into jail with the intent to transfer it to another inmate was hard to prove. Examples of contraband cited by jail staff at the bill’s public hearings included handcuff keys, cellphones for carrying on illegal activity, and several items that were later easily fashioned into weapons. The inmate in possession of contraband items such as these was not and could not be held criminally responsible under the prior law.

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