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#13Investigates: How is contraband getting inside Georgia prisons?

Since July 2010, more than 1,400 people were arrested for sneaking contraband into Georgia prisons, but who some of those people are may surprise you.

MACON, Ga. — With 34 prisons and roughly 52,000 felony offenders, the Georgia Department of Corrections has a lot to keep up with, but sometimes things like drugs and guns still slip through the razor wire and past the metal detectors. Those things are considered "contraband," or things inmates aren't allowed to have.

Over the years, we've reported on inmates posting to social media from their cells and drones dropping drugs into prison yards.

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But who are the people manning those drones or getting contraband past security?

The Department of Corrections reports 1,440 contraband arrests statewide since July 2010.

Telfair County Sheriff Chris Steverson says his deputies provide extra security around the perimeter of Telfair State Prison.

"Some of the tactics that they employ really disturb us," says Sheriff Steverson. 

You can find arrest reports on the prison system's website, and read how visitors try to smuggle contraband to inmates. 

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One at Telfair State Prison shows where someone taped marijuana to a child, and another talks of a mother smuggling drugs inside her 2-year-old's diaper.

"It's kind of disgusting how low these people will go to get that contraband," says Sheriff Steverson. 

Some people stoop even lower -- those who work for the Department of Corrections. 

13WMAZ looked through the last 9-and-a-half years of reports on the state prison website, and found that on average, about 25 prison employees a year are arrested for smuggling, or attempting to smuggle, in contraband.

That includes officers, food service workers, teachers, counselors, and nurses.

We asked the DOC if staff members caught with contraband are automatically fired.

By e-mail, their public affairs department says only "they would potentially be subject to arrest and or termination."

Georgia law says anyone caught smuggling contraband will be prosecuted -- and serve one to five years in prison.

"If they do it, the odds tell us they'll be caught, and if they do it in Telfair County, I think their odds double," says Sheriff Steverson. 

The DOC says before entering a prison, visitors and staff members can expect visual, physical, and electronic screenings.

They say they're using all available resources to keep contraband out, but for security reasons, they would not go into further details about how they search.

**When 13WMAZ went through the contraband reports on the DOC website, we calculated a total of less than 1,400 people arrested since July 2010. The DOC says they are aware of the error and are working to fix the problem.

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