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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 21, 2016 04:00 PM
From: Senator Lisa M. Boscola
To: All Senate members
Subject: Ban the Use of Drones to Deliver Contraband or Surveil Prisons
In the near future, I intend to introduce legislation to ban the use of drones to deliver contraband to correctional facilities, or perform surveillance of correctional facilities. This would include both state correctional institutions and county prisons.

Recent attempts to smuggle drugs, weapons, telecommunication devices and other illegal contraband into correctional facilities have been facilitated by drones and other types of unmanned aerial systems (UAS). The technology of UAS is quickly evolving, and they vary in size and capabilities. Unfortunately, there has been a sharp rise across several states over the past several years in the use of drones in smuggling instances.

Drones pose an additional risk for electronic surveillance and imaging of prisons, their adjoining buildings and land. The use of such unauthorized images poses great safety risks, as the information can be used by those conspiring to smuggle contraband - or even escape from a facility.

In light of these new and unprecedented challenges, my proposed legislation would prohibit drone operators from delivering contraband to prisons, as well as prevent aerially recording or imaging of correctional facilities in Pennsylvania. My bill also provides for a criminal charge to a prisoner or other person that is knowingly involved with receiving contraband or information from a drone’s electronic surveillance system.

This bill is similar to language that was amended into last session’s SB 1323, sponsored by Senator Argall. I invite you to join me as a co-sponsor.

Introduced as SB125