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York County Prison suspends mail delivery after inmate overdoses

Staff and wire report
York County Prison in Springettsbury Township, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016.

The York County Prison has suspended all incoming, non-legal mail delivery after an inmate reportedly overdosed on a suspected opiate.

Prison staff revived the inmate with naloxone around 11 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 4, according to a news release from county spokesman Mark Walters.

Warden Clair Doll ordered the immediate suspension of incoming non-legal mail and periodicals, the release states.

During the suspension, Walters stated, the prison will:

  • Develop solutions to provide mail privileges that decrease the risk of staff and inmate exposures to illicit drugs.
  • Continue to educate staff members and inmates about situational awareness.
  • Continue to educate staff members who handle mail and search inmates and their property.

An investigation is underway to determine how the inmate obtained the drug, according to the news release.

More:'Undetermined': York coroner releases autopsy results days after family claims murder

More:Coroner: Manner of death for York prison inmate could be revised

State prisons: The Pennsylvania state prison system has been on lockdown after more than 50 staff members reported symptoms suspected to be caused by toxic chemicals.

On Wednesday, Gov. Tom Wolf and Corrections Secretary John Wetzel announced new policies on mail handling, visits and detection of drones, changes that will be instituted in the next three months.

The state’s 25 prisons have been on lockdown and visits have been banned for more than a week as officials investigate the spate of illnesses. The cause is suspected to be a clear, odorless substance known as synthetic marijuana that can be concealed in the paper of books and letters.

More:Synthetic pot exposure sickened Pennsylvania prison workers

More:Heroin-fentanyl mix led to drug exposure concerns at prison

More:Pennsylvania prisons on lockdown as mystery illnesses probed

Inmate mail will be processed outside of the prisons, except legal mail. Legal mail will be copied by staff in the presence of inmates, and the process will be videotaped.

All mail already in prisons will be returned to the senders.

The state will be adopting e-books, and the library system will engage in central purchasing for books and magazines.

The state is expanding its detection of drones and the use of body scanners.

Visiting room staff will be doubled, and photos and vending machines won’t be allowed for 90 days.

The state is also setting up a hotline for tips about drug smuggling or possession by inmates, staff or visitors.