Pa. Prisons 99 Percent Drug-Free! 

Pa. Prisons 99 Percent Drug-Free! 
Posted by FoM on January 22, 1999 at 10:11:18 PT

GRATERFORD, Pa., The National Institute of Justice says the number of Pennsylvania inmates who tested positive for illegal drugs has plummeted by nearly 80 percent in the past two years. 
According to a new study by the Department of Corrections and the National Institute of Justice, the state's prisons now are nearly 99 percent drug-free. The study measured the prevalence of drug use inside prisons, examined detection technology and evaluated interdiction strategies. "We believe the results prove that we are nearing our goal of zero tolerance for illegal drugs inside our prisons," said Corrections Secretary Martin F. Horn. The study underscores the usefulness of hair testing for drug detection and is the first to use the method to monitor a prison drug crackdown. The project involved testing of inmates' hair and urine for illegal substances in 1996 and 1998, then comparing the results. In the years between the tests, the Corrections Department launched efforts to battle drug use by inmates. To stop drugs from entering the prison, the department began using electronic drug-detection devices, monitoring inmate telephone calls and searching staff. To find hidden drugs, the department increased the number cell searches. Inmates, visitors and staff who engage in drug activities were punished and prosecuted. The study found the share of inmates testing positive for any drug fell from 7.8 percent in 1996 to 1.4 percent in 1998. The study found the use of marijuana the drug for which inmates most frequently tested positive declined from 6.5 percent in 1996 to 0.3 percent in 1998. All the state's prisons experienced dramatic declines in the number of positive drug tests. 
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