Ch­esco prison of­fi­cials use cau­tion on il­le­gal sub­stances

Em­ploy­ees at sev­eral pris­ons in the state have been sick­ened by un­known sub­stance

The Phoenix - - LOCAL NEWS - By Michael P. Rel­la­han mrel­la­han@21st-cen­tu­ry­ Staff Writer

POCOPSON » As prison of­fi­cials across the state grap­ple with ill­nesses caused by an un­known sub­stance com­ing in from the out­side, Ch­ester County Prison re­mains as yet un­af­fected, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment is­sued this week.

“Ch­ester County Prison staff is con­stantly on alert for ways that in­mates may try to smug­gle il­le­gal sub­stances into the fa­cil­ity,” the state­ment read. “(War­den D. Ed­ward McFad­den) and mem­bers of his staff are work­ing closely with the state re­gard­ing this re­cent is­sue.”

Last week, state pris­ons were placed on lock­down af­ter links were found at a num­ber of fa­cil­i­ties to a clear, odor­less chem­i­cal known as syn­thetic mar­i­juana that were caus­ing ill­nesses.

“In light of these re­cent in­ci­dents, prison staff has re­ceived ad­di­tional train­ing and guid­ance as new safety mea­sures have been im­ple­mented,” the prison’s state­ment read. “The prison is fol­low­ing rel­e­vant pro­ce­dures rec­om­mended by the state to help pre­vent the en­try of il­le­gal sub­stances and the pos­si­bil­ity of any il­le­gal sub­stance con­tam­i­nat­ing prison staff and the in­mate pop­u­la­tion. This in­cludes cor­rec­tions of­fi­cers’ use of masks and gloves in sit­u­a­tions where the pos­si­bil­ity of con­tam­i­na­tion could be present.”

On Tues­day, re­ports came that a western Penn-

syl­va­nia county prison was put on lock­down af­ter al­most a dozen em­ploy­ees be­came ill from a sim­i­lar un­known sub­stance.

Al­legheny County of­fi­cials

say nine cor­rec­tions of­fi­cers and two med­i­cal per­son­nel have been sick­ened since about 10 p.m. Sunday by some kind of odor or sub­stance at the Al­legheny County Jail.

County spokes­woman Amie Downs said all em­ploy­ees were taken to a hos­pi­tal for eval­u­a­tion and

have since been re­leased.

Of­fi­cials said the jail will be locked down un­til fur­ther no­tice. Staff mem­bers are in­ter­view­ing in­mates and plan searches to de­ter­mine the cause. County po­lice are also in­ves­ti­gat­ing.

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