Southern Vermont prisons, particularly at Southern State Correctional facility (SSCF) in Springfield, are having a problem with drone flyovers. Prisons across the U.S. have been experiencing issues with drones delivering contraband to inmates. Even when they aren’t smuggling dangerous goods, the drones are disruptive causing the prison to go on full or partial lockdown.
Deputy Corrections Commissioner Mike Touchette testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday morning. “We’ve had about a dozen drones fly over that facility in the last year.”
Touchette said that the flyovers are disruptive to operations within the prison. Each time officials observe a drone overhead, they lock down the prison and do an “emergency headcount,” as well as conduct a search of the entire facility, “which requires an extensive amount of manpower.”
Last month, Vermont House members presented bill H.615, which would prohibit people from flying drones near or over prisons. If passed, violators would be subject to a civil penalty of up to $500.
The House passed the bill on March 13, 2018. Next, it will go to the Senate floor for approval.
Currently, ten states prohibit drones from operating near or over prisons. Those states include Arizona, Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.