inmates Testing Positive for Drugs in Ohio!

inmates Testing Positive for Drugs in Ohio!
Posted by FoM on February 01, 1999 at 06:29:15 PT

LEBANON, Ohio Inmates at the Lebanon Correctional Institution tested positive for drugs more often than those at any of Ohio's 30 other state prisons last year, a newspaper reported today.
Despite a crackdown, prisoners, visitors and some employees are finding more creative methods of slipping drugs through LCI's security net, The Cincinnati Enquirer said today.``Obviously, there are ways to get stuff in,'' the prison's warden, Harry Russell, said Friday.Ohio's 31 state prisons take random urine samples of inmates every month. Five percent of each prison's inmate population is tested 11 months a year, with a 15 percent sample taken the other month.Records show the Lebanon prison had the worst showing in the system in 1998. At the prison in Warren County, about 25 miles north of Cincinnati, 5.8 percent of all urine samples tested positive for illegal drugs, affecting 87 of the 1,436 inmates who were randomly selected.The positive test rate in most other prisons was below 3 percent, the newspaper said.``There's really no rhyme or reason to it,'' said Reginald Wilkinson, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.Neither Wilkinson nor Russell could be reached for additional comment Sunday night. There was no answer to calls to offices at the Lebanon prison. A recording at the state Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said the offices were closed for the night.State records show that LCI and other Ohio prisons have made some progress in their war against drugs. During the past five years, Lebanon's average percentage of positive drug tests has been cut in half. There has been a similar decline in the statewide average.But LCI's positive drug tests reached as high as 22 percent in one month, according to records from the past five years.Russell has identified some factors that might push LCI's percentages above average.LCI, which is a ``close-security'' prison, probably draws more drug abusers than other types of prisons, he said. Violent inmates go to maximum-security prisons and better-behaved inmates go to medium-security ones.A prison population of 2,300 inmates also means more visitors and mail and more chances for drugs to get into the prison, he said. Prison officials have found drugs hidden in babies' diapers, snack pies, food cans and tennis balls bounced over prison fences.The state also has to deal with corrections officers who contribute to the drug trade.LCI guard James Earl Smith was arrested Jan. 22 after police said he accepted $250 to deliver a marijuana package intended for an inmate. Authorities said the marijuana had a street value of $600 to $800.Smith has been charged with conveying the marijuana onto prison property. If convicted of the felony charge, he could spend six to 18 months in prison and pay a $5,000 fine.
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