Prison staff continue to be sickened despite statewide lockdown

By Steve Pope | September 1, 2018

Corrections officers are are still being effected by an unknown substance despite a statewide lockdown of all state correctional facilities that is now in its third full day.

According to daily incident reports, 57 staff members have fallen ill since May 31, after coming into contact with a substance. All but one received medical treatment and thus far, five have been given Narcan.

The most recent case involves a corrections officer at SCI-Greene, who earlier today started to feel dizzy and became pale after opening a broom closet.  The officer was transported to a local hospital. No further information on the incident has been released.

In some cases officials have identified the substance using field tests kits similar to what police use to test suspected narcotics.  The substances that have been identified thus far include, fentanyl, amphetamines and synthetic cannabinoids.

As a result of the lockdown it is mandatory that all staff use protective equipment, especially gloves, when dealing with inmates or their property. In addition, all visits have been suspended, inmates are locked in their cells and they can only receive mail from attorneys or other similar officials.

According to an Aug. 21 report prison officials announced increased security measures to combat the growing problem. The new measures include, additional training of staff 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 officials have declined to say how long they expect the lockdown to last.

Steve Pope can be contacted at




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