Through a large-scale investigation and search of the Clarinda Correctional Facility, prison officials and employees have uncovered a significant amount of evidence and material laced with the dangerous synthetic drug known at K-2 or synthetic marijuana that has come through the U.S. mail system. This is part of a national trend that jails and prisons have been battling across the country.
Prison officials have been aware of the rising rates of contraband introduction through the inmate mail system over the past year, and have been actively planning and implementing steps to adapt and reduce the increasing rates of drug-related overdoses inside the prisons. For example, the department has recently modified its policy surrounding sending a publication to an inmate after a book was discovered to have been contaminated with synthetic drugs that was sent through a book retailer.
Last week, security, treatment and medical staff at the Clarinda Correctional Facility began noticing a sudden increase in the number of inmates experiencing symptoms consistent with those that have consumed a narcotic. The prison began placing those with observable symptoms on a restricted status for medical observation and investigation.
Prison leadership requested resources for a large-scale search of the prison in reaction to their observations. Earlier this week, investigators, security staff and K-9 officers from six Iowa prisons and Central Office coordinated a prison-wide investigation and search for illegal narcotics and narcotic-laced materials. At this time, approximately 60 inmates have been found to be involved in consumption, possession or the introduction of K-2, which is a major disciplinary infraction in addition to being a major health concern for inmates and staff due to the effects the drug can have on those that consume it.
Once evidence has been processed, investigators will turn over all evidence they collected to law enforcement for further investigation and prosecution of those connected to the introduction of these illegal substances both inside and outside the prison.
The department is making efforts to adjust the mail system for inmates that will allow for those incarcerated to still receive mail, but in a safe and secure fashion.
The incident remains under investigation.