All twenty-five state prisons, including SCI Pine Grove in Indiana County, were placed on lockdown yesterday after more employees were sickened by substances that were presumably smuggled into the facilities. Representative Chris Dush, whose 66th District includes a portion of Indiana County, says that’s not enough.
The State Corrections Department took the action after 29 officers from multiple prisons were sickened by contact with contraband. A check of the incident log at the Corrections Department website shows no incidents at SCI Pine Grove.
The corrections officers’ union praised the decision to lock down the prisons, which restricts inmates to their cells, but Dush, who is a former corrections officer himself, says it’s “truly a state of emergency”, and a superficial search of the prisons isn’t enough and wont’ solve the problems. He says the department needs to take as much time as necessary to properly clear the facilities.
Dush and other lawmakers last week held a news conference to call for more action in the wake of the wave of illnesses due to contraband and the first corrections officer death in the state prison system in 39 years. That happened in February when a convicted murderer killed a guard at the state prison in Somerset.
Dush is scheduled to appear on Indiana in the Morning on WCCS at 8:45 this morning.