A state Inspector General’s investigation found the Department of Corrections used false positive drug tests to punish over 1,600 inmates.
The Citizen reports many of them were placed in solitary confinement. The investigation began after the department informed the IG’ office that tests were producing false positive results. The department then announced in September, 2020 it was suspending its contraband drug testing program. According to the IG’s report, the department was using tests manufactured by Microgenics to test for contraband drugs. The test instructions say positive results should be confirmed by a second test from another maker. However, the Department of Corrections did the restests with the Microgen test, leading to numerous false positive complaints.
The Microgenics test was used for eight months. During that time, 3,018 inmates tested positive for drugs. 1,632 were penalized. The report goes on to say the department failed to take corrective measures when it learned the test results were in doubt. “The fact that incarcerated New Yorkers were further deprived of their liberty without cause or due process is devastating,” Inspector General Lucy Lang said.
The Department of Corrections said it cooperated fully with the investigation.