Little contraband found during York County Prison sweep

Liz Evans Scolforo

A recent sweep of York County Prison turned up a small amount of contraband, including drugs and two makeshift weapons that had been squirreled away by inmates, according to county officials.

"It was minimal in amount and marginal in scope," York County spokesman Mark Walters told The York Dispatch. "That's something the prison is pleased with."

York County Prison in Springettsbury Township, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016.

Found during the sweep were a small amount of drugs, some tobacco and two shivs, also called shanks, according to Walters.

The contraband was found hidden in common areas of the prison, he said.

"These types of (sweeps) are done in accordance with Pennsylvania Department of Corrections policies," he said. "They're done somewhat frequently, and, obviously, they are done for a reason."

Officials locked down York County Prison at 7 p.m. April 21 to conduct the sweep, which ended about 9:15 a.m. April 22, Walters said.

The sweep was planned and included the entire facility, according to a statement from Acting Warden Dennis Bowen.

Prison staff conducted the searches with help from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, which provided Corrections Emergency Response Teams from state prisons and also provided K-9 teams from its Drug Interdiction Unit, according to the statement.

No criminal charges were filed in response to the search, according to Walters.

"Searches of various types are conducted routinely based on prison policy," Bowen said in the statement. "However, this was the first joint effort between the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and York County Prison to conduct a search of the entire prison."

State Department of Corrections Press Secretary Amy Worden said DOC CERT and K-9 units are made available to county prisons on request.

This K2, also known as spice and synthentic marijuana, was found in the work-release area of York County Prison during an overnight contraband sweep that began Friday, April 21, 2017.
(Photo courtesy of York County Prison)

"Multiple teams" of CERT officers as well as a number of K-9 teams, all from the Department of Corrections, participated in the sweep, Worden said.

"For the DOC, this sweep provided a good training exercise for the staff, because it allowed them to search unfamiliar facilities," Worden said. "It is not the first time that DOC CERT has responded to a request by a county facility."

CERT units are "comprised of specially trained and equipped corrections personnel and are utilized for disturbance control and cell extractions as well as facility searches," Worden said.

Team members are required to complete extensive training before being active with CERT, she said.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.