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Alaska prisons seek reduction of drug smuggling

ANCHORAGE (AP) — State prison facilities are making improvements aimed at reducing the amount of drugs being smuggled in behind bars, Alaska Department of Corrections officials said.

From inmate overdoses at the Hiland Mountain Correctional Center to heroin distribution conspiracy charges at the Goose Creek Correctional Center, episodes like these from earlier this year have prompted state officials to look for ways to improve, KTUU-TV reported .

“We know that far more drugs are getting through than we’re catching,” department commissioner Dean Williams said. “That’s a nationwide problem. We’re on the lookout for it.”

The department has advanced its information gathering methods aimed at uncovering the smuggling, though how it did so can’t be discussed, Williams said.

“We really have intelligence gathering capabilities that we didn’t have before,” Williams said. “And while we don’t talk about the method and means by which we’re doing that right now — because we don’t want to advance the bad guys’ understanding of what we’re doing — we’re much more sophisticated.”

While authorities are regularly finding drugs hidden in body cavities, food, and mail, Williams said one particular drug is proving challenging for corrections officials to catch. The small size of the addiction treatment drug Suboxone makes it easy to be concealed.

Williams said the department needs to tackled this issue one step at time and be strategic about it.

The department is also planning to offer more and better drug treatment options for inmates.


Information from: KTUU-TV, http://www.ktuu.com