New protocols in state prisons to keep drugs out

Local News

A number of new protocols were announced Wednesday to keep drugs outside the prison walls.

Department of Corrections Secretary, John Wetzel says incremental change would not be enough.

“Today, we’re ready to announce the next definitive steps to eliminate drugs in the Department of Corrections,” said Governor Tom Wolf.

Pennsylvania’s state prisons have been on lockdown for one week now due to staff members falling ill. The cause is believed to be synthetic drugs being brought inside.

“There’s basically seven paths that we see drugs coming in,” said Wetzel.

Wetzel announced new protocols Wednesday to secure those paths. They include mail now going to an outside facility, where it will be scanned. Inmates will then receive a copy.

“Effective immediately, we will no longer ever receive mail at any DOC facility again,” said John Wetzel, Secretary, PA Department of Corrections.

Every facility will also soon be equipped with drone detection technology, and two body scanners for visitors and staff. There will also be an increase in staff in visiting rooms.

“If a visitor is caught attempting to bring drugs in, they will never visit a Pennsylvania Department of Corrections facility ever again,” said Wetzel.

“I think it’s a very good step in the right direction,” said Jason Bloom. “I like the plan.”

Bloom is President of the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association. He’s happy with the new protocols, but says following through with the plan is what’s most important.

“I think they want to do the right thing. I think they have to do the right thing,” said Bloom. “But, it’s only going to be as good as the implementation and the follow through.”

Secretary Wetzel hopes to have these protocols in place within the next 90 to 100 days.

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