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FACT: The introduction of drugs into correctional institutions increases prison violence, facilitates escapes, compromises staff and

inmate safety and negatively impacts reentry efforts. The existence of drugs also shatters the publics perception of security.

#1 Suboxone

#2 Marijuana

#3 Heroin DID YOU KNOW?
*actual photos of DOC drug seizures

How do drugs get into our prisons?

Visitors Mail

Correction officials agree the two main sources of drug introduction into the prisons are visitors and mail.

Derails Reentry Efforts- The use of drugs while in prison negates progress made through programming leading to successful reentry Cost- Costs associated with institutional drug use include: overtime, urinalysis, drug watches, outside hospital trips, medical interventions, segregation placements and arrests of visitors. The ultimate cost is to the community when released inmates who continued drug use in prison recidivate. Safety- Inmates under the influence of drugs make poor decisions affecting prison safety and the public atlarge. The vast majority of inmates will eventually be released to the community making a drug free environment even more essential. Non-aggressive drug detecting dogs, generally Golden Retrievers or Labrador Retrievers, are used because of their inherent gentle natures, and will be randomly used throughout DOC facilities to help detect the presence of illegal drugs at maximum and medium security facilities at periodic intervals. These dogs are leashed and handled by trained MA DOC personnel. They have been carefully trained to detect the presence of drugs by smell and to alert their handlers to that detection, by merely sitting down. Inmate mail will continue to be monitored by dogs as well.

From 2011 to present, drug detecting dogs were used to detect drugs via mail, resulting in 13 instances of drugs confiscated. This success has led to the implementation of a drug detection dog initiative for visitors, who are an undisputed source of drug introduction. Since 2010, there have been 177 incidents involving the introduction of drugs into prisons by visitors. 75 of the incidents involved Suboxone, 34 of the incidents involved Marijuana, and 19 of the incidents involved Heroin. (Other drugs discovered were unknown prescription pills and tobacco) The chart in Figure I: depicts the number of visitor related drug incidents during the period from January 1, 2010 through October 15, 2013.
Number of Visitor Related Drug Contraband Incidents

In 2012, 49% of the drugs that entered MA DOC facilities by civilians were being trafficked by people identified as one time visitors, individuals whose sole purpose is to enter the facility to introduce drugs.

What impact does the presence of illegal drugs have on our prisons?

The Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA) conducted a survey in March 2013 which revealed that 77% (or 23 of the 30 states responding) of other states correction departments utilize drug detection dogs during visitor processing.

What is the MA DOC doing to prevent the introduction of drugs into prisons?

2013* 2012 2011 2010 0 10 20 20 30

35 69 53





Figure 1
*As of October 15, 2013

About the Use of Narcotic Detection Dogs

Drugs in prisons contribute to violence, compromise the health and safety of staff and inmates and hamper inmates efforts to re-enter society addiction free. The presence of illegal drugs in MA DOC facilities encourages further criminal behavior and the disciplinary consequences that impede inmates chances for parole and to step down to lower security levels. As its policies and procedures reflect, The MA DOC is committed to both staff and inmate safety and to giving inmates a meaningful chance to benefit from re-entry and other programs that strengthen their chances for post-release success. In that context and in response to an increase in drug and other contrabandrelated incidents involving visitors, the MA DOC will soon employ the use of dogs trained to detect the presence of drugs, to address this problem.

Non-aggressive Drug Detection Dogs in DOC Facilities

Important Facts About MA DOC Non-aggressive Drug Detection Dogs

The dogs do not bark, snarl, paw, or lunge at the individual who alerts them. The searches will be random and will not occur every day. If the dog alerts to the presence of drugs, the visitor will be asked to step out of line and consent to a further search. If the visitor refuses, he or she will not be allowed to visit the inmate and must leave the facility. Visitors with dog allergies who are concerned about their brief exposure to a DOC canine may bring a note from their medical provider, and alternate arrangements will be made. It is the DOCs intention to utilize narcotic detecting dogs as part of the entrance procedures for anyone entering secure correctional facilities, however further discussions are pending with the various bargaining units and other affected staff members.

Pennsylvania, widely credited as a leader, instituted a zero-tolerance (drug) policy in 1995, at a time when 6 percent of inmate drug tests were positive. The state Corrections Department began using canine detection teams, installed X-ray machines in prison mailrooms, stepped up drug testing, expanded search policies affecting prisoners and staff, and punished violators with loss of visiting privileges. The positive drug-test rate is negligible now, according to department spokeswoman Susan McNaughton, who said the result is greater safety for staff and inmates. -Drugs Inside Prison Walls, Washington Post- January 27, 2010

Want to see a non-aggressive MA DOC drug detection dog in action? Go online today and visit:
www.mass.gov/doc or www.youtube.com/user/MACorrections

Commissioner Luis S. Spencer

October 2013

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