Visitation canceled at prisons

 

DOVER — Delaware’s Department of Correction announced it was canceling visitation and restricting movement in all of its level 5 prisons on Thursday amid reports of a rash of possible drug exposure-related hospitalizations in Ohio and Pennsylvania prisons.

“We understand this may be inconvenient for family members, but we owe it to our staff and those in our custody to prioritize safety and health,” Deputy Commissioner Alan Grinstead said in a statement. “The DOC is appreciative of the public’s understanding while we assess the situation. Regular operations will resume when conditions improve.”

The Associated Press reported that Ohio and Pennsylvania authorities were investigating inmate and staff exposure to drugs and chemicals in what appeared to be unrelated incidents on Wednesday. In Pennsylvania, the state prisons were locked down because 29 employees at 10 prisons required treatment in recent weeks from exposure to a yet-unidentified substance described in some cases as a liquid synthetic drug. In Ohio, correctional officer, nurses and inmates were among the nearly 30 people treated for possible drug exposure in a single incident inside Ross Correctional Institution. It’s reported that in most cases the afflicted parties display symptoms consistent with exposure to fentanyl.

According to multiple local news outlets, Maryland also suspended visitation at prisons across the state on Wednesday related to concerns about drug exposure.

Correctional Officers Association of Delaware president Geoff Klopp applauded the precautionary measure.

“It’ll be inconvenient, but better safe than sorry,” he said.

Staff writer Ian Gronau can be reached at 741-8272 or igronau@newszap.com

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