Make no mistake about it, the war on drugs is alive and well inside the prisons of this country, and it appears to be getting worse. I have been working as a guard in our local prison for over seventeen years, and each year it seems these inmates come up with more creative ways to get those drugs into their cells, which then puts every person behind those walls in serious danger. We have a few things we do each day to try and slow down the flow of illegal drugs, but overcrowded cells and persistent inmates make it challenging.
Some of the things we do in our efforts to stop drugs from getting into the jail is to perform daily surprise cell inspections. Some of my team will also head over to the visitor center to do physical searches of the visitors coming to see the inmates, then the inmates before they can return to their cells. Finally, we take turns monitoring the telephone calls the inmates make, but that was about to change this year.
Securus Technologies was hired to install a modernized call monitoring system to listen to the inmates more closely. The LBS software does the work of my whole team, scanning all calls for verbiage that deals with drugs. The company CEO, Richard Smith, has committed his time and that of his staff to making the world safe for all of us. When you have thousands of these monitoring systems in jails around the country, you are doing something right.
Now we can identify which inmates are doing drugs in their cells. We can find out who and when drugs are being brought to the jail. We also can identify the inmates who are ordering others to sell drugs in the jail to raise money for the gangs who feel they rule the jail.
The work of The Frontera Fund in areas of Arizona and the wider reaches of the Southwest of the U.S. under the leadership and guidance of journalists Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin. Working towards providing a better and brighter future for the people of Arizona comes in the shadow of the man responsible for the financial settlement used by Larkin and Lacey to establish The Frontgera Fund, Sheriff Joe Arpaio; the illegal arrest of the writers by the allies of Sheriff Arpaio garnered a $3.75 million financial settlement in favor of the Village Voice Media executives.
The question many ask about the incidents leading up to the arrest of Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin is why the pair would be targeted by the former Maricopa County law enforcement official? The answer is Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin had revealed a number of the abuses of power, Arpaio had committed throughout his tenure as the Sheriff through October 2007 when the arrest took place; despite the arrests of Larkin and Lacey being shown to be illegal and their release secured within 24 hours, Sheriff Arpaio remained in power as the head of Maricopa County law enforcement until 2016.
In the months leading up to the false arrests of Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, the Phoenix New Times ran a number of stories about the abuses of power committed by Sheriff Joe and appear to have angered both the Sheriff and his allies. Among the stories published by Larkin and Lacey are those revealing the financial mismanagement of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and the racial profiling of Hispanics under the leadership of the Arpaio.
Events came to a head when Maricopa County officials obtained an illegal Supreme Court warrant designed to provide personal details of employees of the Phoenix New Times the writers worked with and their many Online subscribers. Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin detailed events in a front-page story revealing the illegal nature of the warrant and the call for IP addresses of readers to be made available to Maricopa County officials. Arresting Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin in unmarked vehicles with Mexican license plates was just one of a number of illegal acts committed by Joe Arpaio on the night of October 18, 2007, which led directly to the financial settlement the writers used to establish The Frontera Fund.