CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A crackdown on illegal drugs in the state’s regional jail and prison system is beginning to pay off, according to Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety Secretary Jeff Sandy.
“We’ve had 208 drug seizures in the past 90 days. We’ve had 34 arrests and indictments and at regional jails we’ve caught people during visitations bringing drugs in with our new pat down policy,” Sandy said Monday during an appearance on MetroNews “Talkline.”
Sandy said the department’s new mail checking system has also had “tremendous success.”
Sandy said the crackdown has been a team effort.
“We’ve got a long way to go but we’re making an impact and taking back control of our prisons and regional jails,” he said.
Sandy, appointed cabinet secretary by Gov. Jim Justice back in January, ordered the step-up in enforcement after several inmate overdoses at Pruntytown Prison in Taylor County and learning from the state Parole Board that 53 percent of inmates up for parole said they had used illegal drugs in the three weeks prior to their parole hearing.
“We were failing,” Sandy said.
A number of inmates are now going through withdrawal and are getting help with counseling services, according to Sandy.
“We want the people to be able to function rather than the first thing they get when they get out of prison is they need to find a new drug source,” he said.