Strafford County officials say jail's drug problem not unique but they're focused on solution
STRAFFORD — The Strafford county commissioner along with the county attorney, sheriff are addressing drug problems at the jail that including several inmates overdosing, the arrest of a corrections officer and mail restrictions.
On Thursday, officials held a press conference to discuss actions they have taken.
Strafford County Sheriff David Dubois said during the press conference that an investigation into the incident where the inmates overdosed on June 6 found that the drugs that came into the jail came through the mail.
The "investigation to date gives us high confidence that that happened through the mail," Dubois said.
Dubois also said that the substance that led to the overdoses is currently under lab testing, but at this point is believed to be a "non-opiate type drug."
In March a corrections officer was arrested for attempting to bring heroin into the jail. He resigned shortly after being arrested and is currently out on bail.
Most recently jail officials witnessed inmate Jed Cameron talking to several other inmates through windows in the housing unit. A substance, later identified as Suboxone, was seen being hidden by Cameron, officials said. The officer that saw him hide the Suboxone took the evidence and had it logged.
Cameron was arrested the next day, June 22, and charged with possession with intent to distribute.
It was shortly after the inmate overdose incident that the restriction of non-legal, personal mail into the jail was instituted.
Strafford County Commissioners Chairman George Maglaras said that the issue of drugs making their way into the jail is not unique to Strafford County, but the ways that they are dealing with the issue is.
Capt. Christopher Brackett, who is the acting superintendent of the Strafford County Jail said that the restriction of personal mail was instituted shortly after the incident was initially planned for the end of the summer.
"I don't think that it's a reasonable expectation to say that we will eliminate drugs from getting into the facility," Brackett said.
He continued by saying that they will always be chasing the different ways that drugs are brought into the jail and will work diligently to limit the number of drugs that make it into the jail.
In partnership with telecommunications company Global Tel Link, the jail provides a tablet to each inmate that allows them to send and receive mail as well as download books, music and games. The system is not connected to the Internet such that the inmates can access any non-controlled or monitored website.
The service costs 25 cents per piece of mail sent or received.
Maglaras said it is important to not just house these people incarcerated but to make sure that they are getting the right type of treatment.