Fifth Judicial District - Department of Correctional Services


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TITLE: Search Seizure Contraband


All residents, visitors and employees are subject to search and seizure of contraband items at any time while on facility property, in accordance with the laws of the State of Iowa and Department Policies and Procedures.


Dangerous Contraband is any item deemed as a weapon by the Iowa Code or any item used as a weapon to include but not limited to the following: A firearm, knife, bludgeon or other weapon, device, instrument, material, or substance, whether animate or inanimate, which is readily capable of causing or inducing fear of death or serious physical injury, or any flammable substance or incendiary device. This includes altering or authorized property (such as razors) for purposes of a weapon. Also includes diagrams, directions, drawings, for explosive devices, or other weapons.


    1. The contraband items list, other then Dangerous Contraband items as noted above, are listed in the Resident Manual. The contraband items list is subject to change at any time and those items on the list can be seized by staff at any time. Items not on this list may be seized by staff if it appears that such items may be classified as contraband. Items seized in such a manner will be discussed with management to determine whether the item should be treated as contraband. All confiscated contraband will be bagged and dated by staff and a receipt given to the offender for the confiscated item(s). If it is not needed for legal or disciplinary proceedings or if it is dangerous contraband as defined above, a resident will have two (2) weeks to remove the items from the facility or they will be destroyed.
    2. If drugs, drug paraphernalia or any illegal item are confiscated by staff, the police may be called to determine if criminal charges will be filed.
    1. Signage is posted at all entrances informing all persons entering the facility of the possibility of search and/or seizure of contraband articles. Contraband items are listed in the Resident Manual, and it shall be the resident's responsibility to inform their visitors of the prohibition regarding contraband items.
    1. Residents shall be permitted to send out and receive correspondence without censorship. However, all incoming materials may be inspected for contraband by having residents open questionable mail in front of staff.
    1. Staff is responsible to search rooms and areas of the facility each shift with each room or area being searched at least one time per month or more often as needed.
    2. Staff members searching a resident's quarters shall replace items, as nearly as possible, as they are found.
    1. All residents entering the Facility will be subjected to a thorough pat-down search. Residential Officers shall use hand held metal detectors in addition to hand pat downs to detect contraband. Contraband that will be discovered by the hand held metal detectors will include weapons and contraband that contains metal.
    2. The resident shall be asked to remove all items from his/her person and then assume the proper pat down position (legs spread and arms extended away from the body).
    3. Facility staff shall then cover the entire body area, between one and two inches away from the person being searched, using a slow and consistent movement with the detection wand.
    4. The detectors scan using 360 degrees around the base of the unit so it is not necessary to use one side of the detector verses the other.
    5. The detectors can operate on audible (sound) or vibration alert.
    6. The presence of the metal detectors shall be noted on the rear of the count sheet with other assigned items at the control desk where it is assigned.
    7. The detectors should be secured behind the control desk between uses.
    1. Strip searches will not be conducted on a routine basis, but only for justified cause as cited below:
    2. All new residents who enter the facility off the streets or via family or friend transportation from any location, secure or non-secure, will be strip searched upon entering the facility.
    3. Any resident suspected of possessing contraband shall be strip searched.
    4. For control/security purposes, the Assistant Director of Residential Services may determine that all residents will be strip searched during a specific time period.
    5. Staff members are responsible to perform random strip searches as needed.
    6. All strip searches must be conducted in a private area/room.
      1. A strip search shall be conducted by two (2) staff members whenever possible. At no time will a staff member conduct a strip search on residents of the opposite gender. Subsequent to a strip search, a log entry shall be prepared by the person who conducted the search. The entry shall include the following:
        1. The name of the resident searched.
        2. The name of the person(s) who conducted the search.
        3. The justified cause for the strip search, stating specific details and outcome.
        4. The time, date and place of the search.
      2. When a strip search is to be conducted the resident shall be isolated and observed constantly until the search is conducted. To conduct a strip search, the resident shall be instructed to empty clothing of all belongings and then to remove all clothing. As with a pat-down search, the resident's person should be visually searched and then the belongings. Strip searches should be conducted maturely and with regard to the sensitivity of the situation.
    1. All packages and property brought in by residents shall be searched when brought into the Facility.
    2. Residents who need personal equipment or tools for employment must check these tools and equipment in and out with staff at the Control Desk as needed.
    1. When it is anticipated that confiscated items will result in strong disciplinary action or criminal prosecution, the staff on duty shall follow specific rules for preservation of evidence. Once contraband has been confiscated, maintenance of the "chain of evidence" becomes of paramount importance. To this end, the staff member who confiscated the contraband shall do the following:
      1. Place the contraband in an evidence bag.
      2. Record on the Evidence Seizure form a description of the contents, the name of the resident(s) involved, the date and time of the seizure, the location of the contraband when seized, and then initial and seal the bag.
      3. Place the bag in the evidence/contraband safe.
      4. Write a report describing the seizure steps taken to comply with the procedure.
    1. The Assistant Director of Residential Services shall determine appropriate disciplinary action against a visitor in possession of contraband (notification of law enforcement authorities and/or removal from the facility). Disciplinary actions against residents possessing contraband shall be handled according to the established disciplinary procedures. Law enforcement authorities may also be notified.
    1. The need for a cavity search is not likely to be necessary. If a body cavity search were needed, it would only be done if absolutely necessary, would be conducted by health-care personnel and conducted only with the authorization of the Assistant Director of Residential Services.
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