Proos co-sponsors bills banning drones near prisons

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Senator John Proos

Senator John Proos

LANSING, Mich. Sen. John Proos has co-sponsored new legislation that would make it illegal to fly a drone around a state prison.

“Buzzing a state prison with a drone is not fun and games, it’s serious and potentially dangerous,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “My main concern is the safety of our prison guards and the general public in and around the more than 40 corrections facilities in our state. Just last month, a fight broke out at a prison in Ohio after a drone flew over the prison yard and dropped a package containing tobacco, marijuana and heroin.”

Senate Bill 487 would prohibit the operating of an unmanned aerial vehicle within 1,000 feet of a correctional facility in Michigan. An individual violating the proposed law would be guilty of a felony punishable by up to four years in prison, a fine of up to $2,000 or both. SB 488 is a companion bill that sets the punishment into the state’s sentencing guidelines.

“It has been said that drones are the high-tech version of smuggling a file into a prison in a birthday cake,” Proos said. “Drones are being used to undermine safety and smuggle in contraband at prisons nationwide as well as in Canada and Europe. This initiative is about recognizing the real threat posed by drones at prisons and cracking down on those who try to use drones to give inmates drugs and even weapons.”

Proos said that last month police in Maryland arrested two men who were attempting to fly drugs, tobacco and porn into a state prison and that earlier this year, police in the U.K. spotted someone attempting to use a drone to send drugs, screwdrivers, a knife and a mobile phone to inmates at a prison in Bedford, England.

SBs 487 and 488 have been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration.

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Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos are available on the senator’s website at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Audio” under the Media Center tab.