Legislators send letter urging improved safety at federal prisons
PHILADELPHIA — U.S. Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Bob Casey, D-Pa., led several members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation in asking the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to curb the flow of dangerous drugs into federal prisons through the mail.
In July and August, multiple correctional officers at U.S. Penitentiary Canaan in Wayne County were temporarily hospitalized after being exposed to synthetic drugs smuggled into the prison.
In a letter to BOP Director Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, the delegation urged the BOP to enact new procedures for processing mail sent to federal prisons, including implementing a pilot program to process mail at an off-site facility like the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections does.
“As the Federal Bureau of Prisons has acknowledged, these drugs pose a threat to the safety of BOP staff and inmates. They have harmed staff exposed to them, incited prison violence and caused inmate overdoses. We urge you to adopt new measures to prevent the introduction of synthetic drugs into federal prisons through the mail in order to protect BOP staff and inmates,” the delegation wrote in a letter to Sawyer.
U.S. Reps, Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., Fred Keller, R-Pa.,, Dan Meuser, R-Pa., and G.T. Thompson, R-Pa., joined Toomey and Casey in sending the letter. All of these congressmen have federal prisons in their districts. Pennsylvania is home to seven federally operated prison facilities and thousands of federal correctional officers.