More drug sniffing dogs to enter New York State prisons

Published: Jul. 31, 2022 at 5:57 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - More trained canine teams will be coming to state prisons in an effort to slow down the flow of illegal contraband like drugs.

Acting Commissioner of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, or DOCCS, Anthony Annucci decided to do this after some guidance from the Prison Violence Task Force.

President of the union that represents corrections officers, Mike Powers, says tracking drugs is only a part of the benefits of this initiative.

“Violent times, very rough atmospheres. We’re looking to do everything we can as soon as we can to help reduce the amount of violence and the stressors that already come with the job,” said Mike Powers, NYSCOPBA President.

Powers says fewer drugs means less violence. Powers says there’s already drug sniffing dogs in state prisons, but the new initiative will provide needed help.

Powers says violence in prisons has risen since April 1st, that’s when the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term Solitary Confinement Act, or HALT, went into effect for state prisons. That limits how long prisoners can spend in special housing units.

He says turf wars and attacks on corrections officers are more common.

“It all stems from violence, and we’re looking to eradicate that and whether or not its through discipline. Which is just, in many of these assaults that we’re seeing, vicious on these correctional officers, but more importantly along the lines of contraband that are bringing the violence,” said Powers.

Assemblyman Mark Walczyk says “COs have seen Albany lawmakers turn their backs on them, especially after HALT went into effect. This move is the least the state could do to better protect correctional officers. The Department got this one right.”

State Senator Patty Ritchie says drug sniffing dogs in prisons will go a long way toward reducing the influx of drugs and other contrabands.

Copyright 2022 WWNY. All rights reserved.