Deputies Salisia Pascoe, Kiara Walker, and Roderick Lopez, were recently arrested in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for crimes that relate to introducing contraband into the Broward County Jail and sexual misconduct with an inmate. All have been released after posting bond. Pascoe is facing two counts of using a cell phone to facilitate a felony, one count of introducing contraband into a detention facility, and one count of sexual misconduct with an inmate.
Walker and Lopez have each been charged with introduction of a cell phone into a detention facility, and official misconduct. The contraband in question allegedly included food, batteries that double as lighters, and cell phones. After a cell phone was discovered during a routine pat-down, inmates began filing reports, claiming that the deputies exchanged the items for money or to promote sexual relationships.
It should be noted that there is no expectation of privacy in a jail or prison facility. With the exception of attorney-client privileged communications over the phone or in person, every person in a jail or prison is subject to warrantless search and seizure.
For obvious reasons, especially those mentioned in this blog article, detention deputies and prison guards need to be able to search those present in their facilities.
In total, only these three deputies have been arrested and taken into custody. The Broward Sheriff’s Office has also released a statement, claiming that “[They] are determined to ferret out everyone involved, and [they’re] still working on that.” The biggest concern is that the cell phones that have been sneaked to the inmates are being used to help plan and commit crimes.
According to BSO police reports, Pascoe admitted to consensual sex with an inmate in a storage room at the detention facility. Pascoe’s misconduct was discovered after the inmate she had sex with refused to lend another inmate a cell phone. The other inmate reported the cell phone issue to investigators and this case blew wide open. The investigation that followed also revealed that Pascoe allegedly arranged to have drugs smuggled into the Broward County Jail for inmates.
Unlike Salisia Pascoe, Roderick Lopez’ arrest was the result of a routine pat down conducted on an inmate. When a cellular phone was discovered, the inmate unsuccessfully tried to flush the phone down a toilet. The inmate later told investigators that Lopez accepted up to $800 in exchange for providing him with a cellular phone to call his girlfriends, as well as food, batteries, and pictures of one girlfriend (all of which are illegal contraband in the Broward County Jail). Lopez is accused of meeting the inmate’s girlfriends while he was on duty and in uniform to trade cash for the contraband items.
Kiara Walker’s arrest came after an investigation was launched following an inmate tip that another inmate had a cellular phone in his jail cell. A shake down of that cell revealed several contraband items and a piece of paper in the inmate’s Bible with Walker’s personal phone number on it.
Research into cell phone records revealed the existence of hundreds of text messages between Walker and the inmate, many of them sexual in nature. Pictures of a woman in underwear were also found on the cell phone, however the woman’s face was not depicted.
As an experienced criminal defense attorney, I can tell you that the conduct of these detention deputies is no surprise. Anyone who works in the criminal justice system knows that our jails, and especially our prisons, are full of contraband. And no, I am not talking about shanks made from chicken drum sticks or a piece of scrap metal.
For years and years I have heard stories of inmates getting narcotics such as pain pills, marijuana, cocaine, as well as cellular phones, and even McDonald’s hamburgers while locked up in jail and prison.
How do you think those items get into the jails and prisons? It doesn’t come from the inmates – they are in custody! It also doesn’t come from family visitation… unlike what you may have seen in Goodfellas, nobody is sneaking 8 balls of heroin into the prisons by hiding them in hollowed-out salamis or loafs of bread.
While familial attempts to introduce contraband into the jails and prisons is common, these efforts are usually thwarted when inmates are strip searched upon their return from visitation. In reality, it is the employees, like detention deputies, prison guards, and nurses, who are the key players in allowing contraband into the jail. I know of three ways this happens.
First is the obvious: inmate and detention deputy make friends. Sometimes these friendships stay just that, in other instances they become romantic. Whether an inmate is motivated by the chance to make some extra cash or help a friend or lover, many detention deputies and prison guards become compromised.
Because they hold the keys to the jail, it is easy for them to bring whatever they want into the prison. Frankly, the only way to minimize this risk is to rotate employees on as regular a basis as possible. By doing regular post rotations, the jails and prisons are able to disrupt inmate/guard relationships from blossoming or progressing. While such rotations may be possible in large prison facilities, it is often difficult to have effective rotations in small county jails where inmate populations are not that large.
The second way contraband is introduced into the jails and prisons is when detention deputies or guards look the other way when an inmate comes back from a familial visit with a contraband item. When it comes to the prison drug trade, it is a known thing that prison guards are notorious for taking bribes to look the other way.
These bribes are not always paid in cash. Sometimes, an inmate will tip off a prison guard or detention deputy to other inmates that have contraband, such as a weapon, so it can be found, the deputy can write it up and look good in front of superiors for recovering something dangerous.
Truthfully, to maintain peace in the prisons, this type of give and take is probably an every day necessity. Taking a hard line approach to contraband is probably ineffective.
The third way to introduce contraband into the jails and prisons occurs when inmates are allowed to leave their respective facilities for work details in the public. We have all seen them… they are usually dressed in orange jumpsuits while they pick up trash or cut grass on the side of a highway.
While these inmates are typically minimum security risks, it is not uncommon for outsiders to meet up with the inmates and deliver contraband to them while they are doing their work. Of course, this can only occur with the help of the prison guards and detention deputies who are supposed to be watching the inmates and strip searching them upon their return to the jail or prison.
The bottom line is this, detention deputies and prison guards are low wage workers. It is a dirty, thankless job where in a jail of all places! Having the opportunity to make a little extra cash or make a romantic friend happy is hard to say no to, especially when you think you are not going to get caught.
So long as the demand for drugs, cell phones and other items exists in the jails and prisons, it will be nearly impossible to keep them out of inmates’ hands. The allure of extra income will almost guarantee a black market for drugs and contraband in our jail and prison system.
Before I end, it is important to mention that the allegations mentioned in this blog are just that: allegations. Salisia Pascoe, Kiara Walker, and Roderick Lopez are all innocent until proven guilty. If they are intelligent, each will hire the most effective criminal defense lawyer they can find. Hopefully justice will prevail in the end.