K2 linked to increased assaults on prison staff

By Terri Hill | August 22, 2018

For the first half of 2018 there has been a four percent increase of inmate-on-inmate and inmate-on-staff assaults in state prisons, according to a report issued by the Pa. Dep’t of Corrections.

The DOC believes there is a link between increased drug trade in prisons and the uptick in violence, the report said.

As a result of the increased violence the DOC is increasing its efforts to address the threats, particularly those involving substances like K2, which is a form of synthetic marijuana that is easily smuggled into the facilities.

“The safety and security of staff and inmates is paramount to the Department of Corrections,” said Corrections Secretary John Wetzel. “Whether the threat is drugs or staff assaults, the agency is working vigorously to combat these threats on many fronts.”

Earlier this month four corrections officers from SCI-Greene were transported to a hospital after becoming ill. On Aug. 13 at approximately 7:00 p.m, the officers became ill after they were exposed to an unidentified substance while searching an inmate’s property. The area was isolated and the prison was placed on full lockdown.

Prison officials are implementing new security and safety measures to combat the problem of dangerous substances being smuggled into prisons including; implementing new training in the use of protective equipment; expanding the use of body scanners; increased screening of inmate mail and expanding the use of K9 units.

“Prison staff, especially corrections officers, risk their lives on a daily basis,” said Tabb Bickell, the DOC’s executive deputy secretary for institution security. “We are moving quickly and deliberately to make sure they have all the available tools and training to ensure their safety.”

Terri Hill can be contacted at terri.hill@grantstreetnews.com




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