Klein Releases Report on the Rise of Contraband and Assaults on Corrections Officers

Klein Releases Report on the Rise of Contraband and Assaults on Corrections Officers

Senator Jeff Klein recently released an alarming report analyzing the growing problem of assaults on corrections officers and staff and the seemingly unabated flow of contraband into our prisons. The report, Corrections without Protections: The Increasing Dangers Facing New York’s Boldest Officers, examined inmate assaults from 2007 through 2016 and found that they had risen from a low of 524 in 2012 to an astonishing high of 896 in 2015. The recent analysis released by Senator Klein also revealed an increasingly dangerous environment overall inside New York’s prisons as inmate-on-inmate assaults continue to skyrocket as well. Incidents that include fights between two inmates and large-scale assaults involving over 100 inmates peaked in 2016 with 1,134 reported assaults from a low of 603 incidents in 2009.

As violence inside correctional facilities has become more prevalent, so too does the existence of contraband like drugs and plastic weapons that evade metal detectors over the same period of time. More and more, staff is finding extremely dangerous synthetic drugs like K2 which is believed to cause erratic and uncontrollable inmate behavior when used and puts officers into harm’s way. In 2015 alone, there were 1,247 K2 confiscations, up from a low of three in all of 2012. Senator Klein has documented the prevalence of synthetic marijuana as a growingly popular recreational drug that can be easily found on the internet and in neighborhood stores and they are now flowing freely into the prison system.

An increasingly dangerous work environment for corrections officers has led to an increase in workers compensation claims as costs have ballooned to $19.1 million in 2015-2016 from $16.6 million in 2011-2012, leaving taxpayers on the hook to foot the bill.

To address this alarming trend that has been discovered, legislation introduced will allow new and improved body scanners to better detect dangerous weapons, cracking down on synthetic drugs inside and outside prison facilities, increasing staff numbers, and ensuring equitable death benefits for our state’s boldest officers. Other legislation will expand workers compensation coverage to include mental health-related claims of correction officers will help protect them in the line of duty.

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