Drug smuggling through prison mail halts

Local News

Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Officers say inmates are finding a new way to get drugs into prison. The Wisconsin Department of Corrections says they’re now putting it on paper. Literally.

The agency says it’s seeing an increase in synthetic cannabinoids, like k-2, being sprayed on envelopes and the mail inside them. DOC’s Sarah Cooper says that’s caused Wisconsin’s prisons to change how they’ll receive mail.

“Personal mail will no longer be sent to the institutions. Instead, it will be sent to a third-party vendor and this vendor’s title is TextBehind. And what they will do is receive the mail, open it, scan it, print it and send the copies back into the institutions.”

Lieutenant Travis Holbrook with the Eau Claire County sheriff’s office says drugs are a problem in his facility too.

“People have gotten very creative over the last couple years in how to get certain drugs through. By soaking the envelopes, the paper, the glue on the back where you lick to seal the envelope. We’ve also seen suboxone strips that have been placed between birthday cards or Christmas cards.”

The DOC says the drug problem has made these facilities too dangerous.

“We have had situations where people who consume these drugs have become very combative. We have had people who have gotten very very ill, they’ve gone into seizures. It’s incredibly dangerous.”

She says in the past few months, there have been more than 300 incidents involving drugs in prisons. More than 30 inmates have been rushed to the ER. While not all of these incidents were caused by drugs brought in on paper. It’s become a common problem.

The new mail system begins on December sixth. Cooper says it will not apply to certain protected mail, such as attorney-client communications. It also won’t apply to the state’s juvenile system. 

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