Drugs found in multiple packages to inmates at NY correctional facilities

The New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association said drugs mailed to inmates are being discovered at a "rapid pace"

The Citizen

SENECA COUNTY, N.Y. — Drugs mailed to inmates in central New York correctional facilities are being discovered at a "rapid pace," said a state police and correctional officers union on Wednesday.

The New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association announced that staff at Willard Drug Treatment Campus recovered Suboxone, a drug meant for treating opioid addiction, hidden in multiple mailed letters to inmates. The Seneca County correctional facility is a drug treatment center for incarcerated people.

"There are no lengths that inmates will not go to right now to smuggle in drugs to facilities. Packages are coming in daily with all types of alterations to hide drugs," said Mark Deburgomaster, vice president for the western region of NYSCOPBA, in a Wednesday news release.

"Staff is doing a fantastic job picking up all the different ways people are trying to smuggle drugs into inmates," he said.

Between May 4 and May 18, the prescription drug was found in six cases either dried to a paper inside a letter or as orange strips in between a sheet of paper, according to the release. In one instance, two letters with dried Suboxone inside was sent to the same inmate five days apart from the same sender.

Suboxone was also found in two food packages mailed to inmates at Groveland Correctional Facility, a medium-security prison in Livingston County.

Twenty strips of the drug were discovered inside a package of fruit rolls sent from downstate earlier this month. An officer noticed them on an X-Ray image. On May 20, another officer found 40 strips of Suboxone behind tampered labels of several Goya Bean cans. That package was from the Rochester area.

In its release, the union renewed its calls for the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to implement a secured vendors program that would only allow outside material to be purchased and mailed to inmates from a vendor approved by the state.

NYSDOCCS suspended its secured vendors program in 2018 following prisoner advocacy groups' complaints that the program was too restrictive and cut off communication with families.


©2020 The Citizen, Auburn, N.Y.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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