An internal memo obtained by the Channel 4 I-Team from Tennessee Department of Correction Commissioner Derrick Schofield states he ordered an 80-member special operations unit to sweep Riverbend Maximum Security Prison for contraband Monday.
The memo also states that the special operations team will now be stationed at all the entry points of the prison, including the sally port and checkpoint.
The Department of Correction is also planning to install advanced imaging technology at Riverbend, according to the memo. It does not elaborate, however, if that technology will be similar to screenings that currently exist in airports.
The memo comes in the wake of the latest Channel 4 I-Team "party behind bars" investigation that revealed how an inmate was using guards to get cell phones inside the most secure prison in the state.
Our investigation showed how we were able to have multiple conversations with inmate David Faulkner through a contraband cell phone and received pictures and texts exposing what was happening inside Riverbend.
Our investigation ultimately led to a TBI sting on former Riverbend Correctional Officer Kevin Simmons, who is now charged with official misconduct after the Channel 4 I-Team obtained a recorded call of him instructing how to get a phone inside the prison.
In those conversations between Simmons and Faulkner's fiancee, Sandy Jordan, Simmons can be heard discussing how he warns Faulkner when a cell phone sweep is coming.
"You [Faulkner] need to find yourself a hiding spot, because you know they're [prison strike teams] going to come in, and they're going to check you," Simmons said. "I try to give him [Faulkner] heads up as much as I can."
Faulkner also told the Channel 4 I-Team how he works with other inmates to hide cell phones during the sweeps.
"You wrap your phone up in your laundry bag, and you give it to that inmate. He'll get it out there and hide it, and when the strike force leaves, you get your phone back," Faulkner said.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Correction said the commissioner was at a conference and unavailable for an interview Tuesday.
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