Jail bans inbound Christmas cards after discoveries

Holiday greeting cards have been banned from Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren Regional Jail since the staff discovered some that contained more than words of glad tidings and good cheer.

Superintendent William Wilson said the discovery of drugs in some of the cards led to the ban. Since Dec. 9, cards sent to inmates have been returned to senders unopened.

Wilson said three people — two inmates and one person on the outside — have been arrested on charges related to trying to smuggle drug-laden cards into the jail.

“Cards have been a problem for years,” Wilson said. “It’s not just us. Most jails don’t allow them.”

Those involved in trying to slip drugs into the jail have shown ingenuity and creativity in their methods. Wilson said some grind up pills into powder that they mix with glitter sprinkled in the card. Others will take a card and pull it apart in layers of paper where the powdery drug is placed. The layers are then glued back together to keep the drugs from being detected.

Wilson said jail staff noticed problems with cards shortly before Dec. 9.

“Basically, we got some information,” Wilson said. “Our staff check on the cards when they come in to see if there’s something fishy about them.”

Wilson said the ban appears to have succeeded in closing off at least one seasonal channel by which inmates can acquire illegal drugs.

“We’ve haven’t had any more problems that I’m aware of,” Wilson said.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com