SOUTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH
Columbia, South Carolina

THE STATE COMMISSIONER OF MENTAL HEALTH DIRECTIVE NO. 718-88
(5-100)

TO:              All Employees

SUBJECT:   Contraband Law (Articles Forbidden to Patients in Inpatient Facilities)

 

I.  Purpose

The purpose of this directive is to publicize the law prohibiting patients of the Department in inpatient facilities and prisoners under the jurisdiction of the Department from possessing certain items declared to be contraband and providing penalties for any person who either intentionally or negligently allows a patient or, prisoner access to such items, furnishes a patient or prisoner with such items or attempts to furnish a patient or prisoner with such items. This directive also establishes reporting and investigation procedures whenever a suspected violation of the law has occurred, and authorizes the confiscation of contraband to prevent its introduction into the patient or prisoner population.

II. Contraband Law

Section 44-23-1080, South Carolina Code of Laws, as amended, provides as follows:

No patient or prisoner tinder the jurisdiction of the South Carolina Department of Mental Health is allowed access to alcoholic beverages, firearms, dangerous weapons, or controlled substances as defined by Section 44-53-110. Any person who intentionally or negligently allows patients or prisoners of the department access to these items or who attempts to furnish these items to patients or prisoners of the department is guilty:

(1) in the case of alcoholic beverages or controlled substances, of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than ten thousand dollars or imprisonment for not less than thirty days nor more than ten years, or both; and

(2) in the case of firearms or dangerous weapons, of a felony and, upon conviction, must be punished by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars nor more than ten thousand dollars or imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than ten years, or both.

III. Policy

It is the policy of the Department of Mental Health to enforce the provisions of the contraband law by investigating and reporting all apparent violations of the law to the appropriate authorities. In addition, employees who violate the law are subject to discipline, up to and including dismissal.

IV. Procedures

1. Any employee having knowledge of an incident which may involve a patient or prisoner under the Department's jurisdiction being in possession of contraband, or having knowledge of an incident involving any person attempting to furnish or actually furnishing, a patient or prisoner with contraband, shall be responsible for promptly reporting such incident to the employee's supervisor and the Office of Public Safety.

2. Public Safety shall investigate all incidents of alleged violations of the contraband law according to the standard procedures followed in all investigations of alleged criminal activity. If the investigation indicates it probable that a violation of the contraband law has taken place, Public Safety shall notify the appropriate Solicitor's office.

3. Any employee having knowledge of items constituting contraband on the grounds of an inpatient facility shall be responsible for promptly reporting the location and circumstances to the Office of Public Safety.

4. Public Safety shall investigate all reports of the presence of contraband and, if contraband is discovered, shall take reasonable precautions to preclude the contraband from reaching the patient or prisoner population. Such precautions may include confiscating the contraband.

5. Confiscated contraband shall be maintained and disposed of in accordance with the SCDMH Directive entitled "Procedure for Inventory and Disposal of Contraband."

6. Every employee of the Department will be made aware of departmental policy concerning the contraband law.

This Directive supersedes and replaces South Carolina Department of Mental Health Directive No. 344-75.

                                                                        Joseph Bevilacqua
                                                                           Joseph J. Bevilacqua, Ph.D.
                                                                           State Commissioner of Mental Health

July 27, 1988


APPENDIX A
Receipt for SCDMH Directive No. 718-88