To read all about it, go to Prison contraband was booming trade, an article in today's Express-News. Guards smuggle in items for the prisoners and if they get caught they usually face mimimal penalties. What are some of the items that prisoners can get there hands on?
"Knives and drugs, cell phones and smokeless tobacco. Even McDonald's hamburgers. Texas prisons were a virtual bazaar of prohibited and illicit goods smuggled in by guards and correctional employees who rarely faced the harshest punishment possible when caught, according to a San Antonio Express-News review."
It seems that it is hard to stop markets from forming when people want something, even prisoners. It may be hard for the state to punish the guards too much since their salaries are low. If you fired all the guards who broke the rules, you might not have enough. The article also mentions that at a low pay, the guards are tempted to make a little extra cash helping the prisoners. What do you have to lose but a low paying job. And again, the penalties are not that severe if you do get caught. Friends or relatives of the prisoners often contact the guards to get the trades and sales going.
Update: Another article states:
"For months, perhaps longer, the Montague County Jail was "Animal House" meets Mayberry. Inside the small brick building across from the courthouse, inmates had the run of the place, having sex with their jailer girlfriends, bringing in recliners, taking drugs and chatting on cell phones supplied by friends or guards, according to authorities. They also disabled some of the surveillance cameras and made weapons out of nails."
Go to Texas jail was an Animal House, authorities say.