MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Mobile Metro Jail is dealing with a sharp uptick in contraband. The jail’s warden says it’s partially due to ongoing construction impacting perimeter security.

Now corrections officers say they’re dealing with inmates making holes in the walls to get contraband inside their cells.

Metro Jail Warden Trey Oliver said, “They peel the paint off the walls and they use that to camouflage where they’ve started digging holes into the wall. So whenever we do our daily wall inspections, you can’t detect.”

He continued, “We’ve seen what about 20 holes.” He said the holes help inmates get contraband into their cells, and it’s been a problem growing since the pandemic hit.

Officers showed WKRG News 5 cameras contraband they took in from just one small area of inmate cells the morning of our tour.

Warden Oliver said, “You see the assortment of prescription drugs here. You see the steak knife, that’s our biggest concern.”

He told WKRG News 5 cameras that officers do searches often, watch live footage on hundreds of cameras positioned throughout the jail and patrol, but between having a large inmate population and being short-staffed, it’s difficult.

The warden showed WKRG News 5 cameras a pole ripped from a desk. He said inmates use poles like that to make the holes in the walls of the jail. As a result, the warden said officers have had to remove desks inside cells.

Once the holes are made, inmates use bed sheets as ropes. Warden Oliver showed WKRG News 5 cameras remnants of contraband that didn’t make it inside left on the razor wire surrounding the jail.

The warden said the jail has asked for more razor wire to make the perimeter even more secure.

He said due to the lack of staff and construction impacting the security of the jail’s perimeter, corrections officers face a lot of challenges, but officers are constantly coming up with ways to stay one step ahead.