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Prison staff exposed to fentanyl

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An investigation has shown that two prisons in New York have not taken precautions to protect their employees from exposure to drugs.

Workers have been routinely exposed to drugs like fentanyl while searching mail and packages, according to the Times Union. Some of these incidents led to workers being taken to the hospital.

The New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association recently filed a health and safety complaint on behalf of corrections officers. This complaint was filed after multiple staff members were exposed to fentanyl in 2021.

As the overdose epidemic continues due to fentanyl, it’s becoming more and more common in places like prisons where staff can be exposed by touching or inhaling it. One of the biggest issues with this is that staff aren’t provided with adequate equipment to protect themselves when being forced to frisk incarcerated people and search their belongings as part of their job.

The two prisons named in the complaint are Marcy Correctional Facility and Mid-State Correctional Facility. 12 citations were issued at Marcy by the Department of Labor and seven at Mid-State. Now the NYSDOCCS is required to take steps to enhance safety in package rooms to reduce exposure to illicit drugs and provide better protective equipment.

Incidents at Marcy and Mid-State required staff to be given Narcan and hospital treatment after being exposed to fentanyl.

A new program implemented by NYSDOCCS requires families to use outside vendors to send packages. This means they can no longer send them themselves. While this has had a positive impact on the contraband issue, families feel it is unfair because their loved ones often only receive nutritional and affordable foods through family care packages. These suggestions were made after the labor department’s investigation and also included photocopying inmate mail.

Categories: New York StateNews