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1 The Buffalo News All content Copyright 2006 The Buffalo News The Buffalo News TAG: BYLINE: : By Lou Michel and Susan Schulman - NEWS STAFF REPORTERS DATE: Sunday, September 17, 2006 EDITION: Final SECTION: News PAGE: A1 ILLUSTRATION: Derek Gee/Buffalo News Reginald Brown, a former drug user released from prison in May 2005, now counsels other former inmates as program coordinator at Back to Basics, an outreach ministry on Genesee Street in Buffalo. "You would go to the yard on Saturday or Sunday night, and it would be like a bazaar, with people going from table to table making drug deals." Kevin Muscoreil, a former Attica inmate now working as a legal assistant. TYPE: Special Report SERIES: Jailhouse Highs (part one of four) Jailhouse highs Editors' Note Illegal drugs seep into New York state prisons like rain through a leaky roof, with some inmates staying doped-up until their release -- only to commit more crimes. And others dying behind bars, a Buffalo News investigation found Jitendra Lakram, 36, died that way. The son of South American immigrants, Lakram hoped to start a new life once released from Attica state prison, perhaps returning, his family said, to their home country of Guyana. He never got the chance. Neither did Michael Vlahoff, 31, a former worker in Ford's Woodlawn plant, who got mixed up in drugs, and landed in Collins state prison. "I was so shocked that I couldn't believe it," said Lakram's mother, Kamlawaty Lakram. "I figured my son. should be safe and drug free there." It makes no sense." "He's not on the street," one of Vlahoff's relatives added. "He is (supposed to) dry out and get the help he needs," one of Vlahoff's relatives added. They're not supposed to get that stuff when they are in there." Perhaps not, but it's happening. With some 3,500 drug tests coming back positive each year, three inmates, on average, die from illegal drugs in New York prisons annually, The News found. At least 19 died this way since But beyond that, countless other inmates are released with drug addictions, often to commit more crimes on the street. "It [drug addiction] was just as bad when I got out," said Cheryl Davis, who resumed her "career" as a Buffalo drug addict and thief upon leaving Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. Page 1

2 People come into court... want[ing] to detox off the drugs that they had been using while in custody," said Buffalo City Court Judge Robert T. Russell. While drugs behind bars are a national problem, The News found drug use in New York prisons more widespread than in surrounding states -- with marijuana and heroin being the drugs of choice. About 70 percent of all positive drug tests are for marijuana; 30 percent for heroin. Among The News' findings: *A greater percentage of random drug tests are positive in New York prisons than in surrounding states -- more than 10 times greater than Pennsylvania. The numbers may be conservative because New York administers fewer random tests than the other states surveyed. *New York's maximum-security prisons tend to have the biggest drug problem. Less than 30 percent of prison inmates are in the state's 17 maximum-security prisons, where more than 60 percent of drug incidents occur. *Drugs or drug paraphernalia were found in prisons about 2,000 times in the last 51/2 years. Some 868 inmates were arrested for possessing drugs in prison over the past decade. At least 300 visitors were arrested with drugs over the past five years. About 20 prison employees are disciplined or resign annually for drug involvement in and out of prison. *Four times as many inmates died from accidental drug overdoses in New York prisons from 2002 to 2004 as in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan combined. Nationally, inmates are nearly twice as likely to die from drug overdoses in New York prisons as in state prisons around the country. *Similar problems exist in some county jails. Seven inmates died in New York City jails and eight in county jails outside New York City since Among them was an Erie County man whose heroin addiction, family members said, started years ago in state prison. "Anything I can get at Genesee and Jefferson, they got in there [prison and jail]," said former inmate Reginald Brown, an ex-drug user now counseling other former convicts in Buffalo. "We've heard from some it's even easier [to get drugs in prison than on the streets], and there's less chance of getting caught," said Erie County Deputy District Attorney Molly Jo Musarra. >Question of Safety New York State Department of Correctional Services officials call illegal drugs a threat to prison safety, and say keeping them out is a constant challenge, given 72 percent of inmates enter prison with a history of substance abuse. But the department says it does a good job keeping the situation under control in a system with 69 prisons that some 90,000 inmates go through each year -- an average 63,000 on any given day; as well as 770,000 visitors, and some 585,000 packages to inmates annually. "We believe we have an effective and comprehensive strategy to tackle drugs in prison," department spokeswoman Linda M. Foglia said. b With the department's emphasis on drug treatment for addicts, and punishment for those caught with drugs in prison, positive drug tests, she said, declined in recent years, although 2005 showed an increase Of 81,000 drug tests administered last year, 3.4 percent of all tests, and 2.9 percent of randomly administered tests, were positive. But what the state sees as a strong, successful program, others see as lacking, especially in maximum-security prisons. As many as 7 percent of random drug tests in maximum security prisons are positive, as are 10 percent of follow-up tests given to inmates who previously tested positive, and 17 percent of tests given to inmates acting suspiciously, The News found. "You would go to the yard on Saturday or Sunday night, and it would be like a bazaar, with people going from table to table making drug deals," said Kevin Muscoreil, a former Attica inmate now working as a legal assistant to a top Buffalo defense attorney. "We have a terrible problem with heroin in Attica. Drugs are rampant," said Corrections Officer Rick Harcrow, a union steward at the prison. Corrections Department officials challenged those characterizations, saying positive drug tests at Attica, with 2,200 prisoners, dropped in recent years to 4 percent in 2005, from 6 percent in "We don't have heroin rampant in Attica," Foglia said. "There is absolutely no evidence to support these claims." Nevertheless, with New York having a higher rate of positive random drug tests than surrounding states surveyed, The News found New York is less aggressive in battling its drug problem -- a situation critics say goes back 30 years. >'System failure' In what now seems like a double whammy, the state imposed Gov. Rockefeller's tough, new drug laws -- putting more drug users and sellers behind bars -- at the same time it implemented some of the most liberal prison visitation policies in the country as a response to the 1971 Attica uprising. With all the hand holding, kissing and hugging permitted -- during daily visitation at maximum-security prisons and weekend and holiday visits at the others -- it got easier to smuggle illegal drugs into prisons, critics say. And with more inmates coming into prison with drug histories, the demand for drugs got higher. "Obviously, there was a system failure that allowed this high volume of drugs to be getting into the prisons," said George King, a former State Parole Board member for 10 years. The News also found the New York prison system doesn't share drug overdose information with families. "They told us he died of a heart attack. If the lawyer hadn't investigated, I would have never known," Jitendra Lakram's mother said. "I kept calling the investigator in [the Department of Correctional Services], and he never has given an answer." "We were never told he had drugs in him," said Eddie Reid, whose brother-in-law, Louis Telese, died from a drug overdose at Attica last year. "We were told it was a heart attack." It's the coroner's responsibility, not the corrections department's, to notify families on how their loved ones died, corrections officials said. Page 2

3 "Corrections law says the cause of death must be decided and given to the public from the coroner," Foglia said. >The cocaine habit Michael Vlahoff grew up in Lancaster and had a good job at the Ford plant, but the father of two young boys developed a cocaine habit that overtook his life. He ended up divorced, fired from his job and, eventually, behind bars. His legal trouble started with a 2000 burglary and continued in 2001, when he stole a car in Hamburg. When an officer approached, Vlahoff sped away, dragging the officer, who suffered a fractured shoulder. Vlahoff ended up in Collins Correctional Facility, a medium-security prison, serving up to three years behind bars. His family never gave up on him. With drug counseling, they hoped he would turn things around. "The family was supportive of him," said State Sen. Dale Volker, who knows the Vlahoffs as a "good, hardworking family" that tried to help Vlahoff beat his drug addiction. But in prison, Vlahoff's drug habit only got worse. At home, he did crack cocaine, his family said. In prison, he did heroin. One night in October 2003, Vlahoff and his cellmate were "doing lines" of heroin. The next morning, Vlahoff was dead from an overdose. >The American dream Jitendra Lakram and his family moved to the United States in 1970, searching for the American dream after escaping discrimination against Indian families in their home country, Guyana, South America. Lakram's parents prospered in New York, moving from Queens to Long Island's Nassau County. His sister went on to finish college and get a good job in the business world. But Jitendra Lakram foundered. He was smoking marijuana and stealing cars. In 1986, he went to prison for car theft. In 1991, not long after his release, Lakram threatened a man at gunpoint -- he claimed the gun wasn't loaded -- and stole a car. At age 23, Lakram was back behind bars, serving 121/2 to 25 years in Attica. Lakram's parents hoped that, once released, their son would start a new life in Guyana,. perhaps marketing an idea he patented in prison for an "unsinkable ship." But drugs behind bars got in the way. "We're concerned about [you] having drugs," one parole commissioner said during a hearing in "Why is this going on in jail?" "I use drugs recreationally to relieve my stress," Lakram said. Parole commissioners reacted harshly. "You do realize how outrageous that is, given your situation, and where you are?" a commissioner responded. The following year, on Nov. 22, 2004, Lakram was found dead in his cell. He overdosed on heroin. >Thriving drug culture The drug culture thrives in prisons, The News found, partly because of innovative ways drugs are smuggled in, but also because of New York's liberal visitation policies. "It is mostly girlfriends, wives, family members bringing drugs in," said District Attorney John Trice from Chemung County, where two prisons are located. "I've had mothers bringing it in to Junior." Other states do background checks on visitors, send trained dogs to find drugs on visitors and in their cars, and conduct high-tech drug screening of everyone entering the prison. Not in New York State prisons. The state has three electronic ion scanners shared among the 69 prisons to detect drugs on visitors. Most visitors to New York prisons can show up, sign in, walk through a metal detector and visit an inmate. Even if the visitor is a drug dealer. And while some states keep inmates and visitors physically apart -- with glass partitions or video visitation rooms -- New York, despite rules to the contrary, allows many inmates and visitors to spend hours hugging and kissing in crowded rooms, often with limited supervision, The News observed. "When I started back in the 1970s, many of the prisons had glass partitions, and you spoke through a phone, and there was minimal contact visitation," said Denny Fitzpatrick, spokesman for the New York State corrections officers' union, after the Attica riot, many things were changed, and they took a very liberal approach in dealing with inmates." How liberal? New York is one of just six states that allows married inmates conjugal trailer visits, according to the National Institute of Corrections. State officials say they are considering the purchase of more scanners to check inmates for drugs, but that it would be inefficient to do background checks and use drug dogs on visitors in a prison system as large as New York's. >Deadly mystery State Police investigators believe Vlahoff got his deadly heroin through another inmate, who had a visitor smuggle the drugs into prison. "When he got back to the cell... we started doing lines," cellmate Bruce Ferguson said. Page 3

4 Authorities don't know how Lakram got or ingested the heroin that killed him. "They searched his cell, and no apparatus, a needle or smoking device, was found," State Police Capt. George Brown said.it all leaves the Vlahoff and Lakram families struggling to come to terms with the deaths. And it raises concerns within the law-enforcement community for society in general. If you can't keep drugs out of a facility like Attica, there's no hope of keeping them out of other institutions like schools," said Gerald L. Stout, district attorney in Wyoming County where two state prisons, including Attica, are located. and KEYWORDS: DRUGS PRISON Page 4

5 The Buffalo News All content Copyright 2006 The Buffalo News The Buffalo News TAG: DATE: Sunday, September 17, 2006 EDITION: Final SECTION: News PAGE: A8 SERIES: Jailhouse Highs Drugs come in from kisses and candy bars Veronica Good went to prison with a gift for her boyfriend and some of his friends. Fifty bags of heroin. Authorities confiscated the drugs the day Jose Colon got them. But 10 times previously, Good told authorities, she easily smuggled drugs into Auburn Correctional Facility. "My boyfriend Jose Colon arranged with these inmates to have their wives call me and make arrangements for me to meet them and get the drugs," Good later told police. "And I bring [drugs] up to the jail, and I give it to Jose during the visits." Good's method of bringing drugs into prison - stowing them in balloons hidden in her clothes, then slipping them to her boyfriend during a visit - is one of the most common ways marijuana, cocaine and heroin get smuggled behind bars. "The normal way that drugs go into the prison is people putting them into balloons and exchanging them in contact visits [during a kiss]," said Robert M. Winn, the former district attorney in Washington County. "A good sloppy wet kiss could transfer a couple bundles of heroin, no problem," added Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Bruce in Buffalo. Drugs also get into prison beneath canceled postage stamps, stashed in the folds of large cardboard envelopes and in magazines. "An inmate was getting a subscription to a magazine from a friend who was sending it up to him. The friend was getting a second copy of the magazine and cutting individual photos from the one magazine and putting heroin in between and gluing the photo onto the same photo," said Steve Cox, assistant district attorney in Oneida County. In another case, what appeared to be a sealed can of vegetables was actually a can with a removable top filled with drugs. Other times, drugs come stuffed in the soles of shoes and hidden in the hems of pants. And in candy bars. "I mailed it to him," Tina L. Stark told authorities in 2002, when explaining how she hid heroin inside Snickers bars she sent to her husband, Rudy, while he was in Attica Correctional Facility. "Rudy told me how to put the dope in the Snickers bars," she said. "He said get six or 10 Snickers bars, open the package carefully, remove the bar, turn it over, make a small slice, scoop out a small portion with a potato peeler, wrap the dope in plastic Saran Wrap; put it or stuff it inside the candy bar, then cover it up with the candy chocolate residue. "I didn't think it would work, but it got through a lot of the times." - Susan Schulman and Lou Michel KEYWORDS: DRUGS PRISON TRANFER Page 5

6 The Buffalo News All content Copyright 2006 The Buffalo News The Buffalo News TAG: DATE: Sunday, September 17, 2006 EDITION: Final SECTION: News PAGE: A9 SERIES: Jailhouse Highs Prison drug scene Sampling of arrest reports from nine prisons in Central and Western New York offers view if drug activity behind bars. Wende inmate Paul Mitchell shoved 21 packets of heroin into his mouth Feb. 22, 2000, began to gag, and was ordered to spit out whatever else was in his mouth. Collins inmate Henry Gipple stuffed two heroin-and- pot filled balloons in his rectum after a visit from his wife June 2, 2000.?I hope my wife doesn?t get in trouble because she brought these in for me,? Gipple told authorities. Collins inmate Timothy Chambers, caught Aug. 7, 2000, with one bag of drugs in his hand, had 22 more bags of marijuana and heroin in his cell. Attica inmate Gordon Barger was caught Sept. 25, 2000, with a glassine bag filled with heroin and labeled?stay high.? Wyoming inmate Javier Davilla Sept. 28,2000, told authorities another inmate handed him two pieces of rubber with something inside them, and said?this is yours. Somebody sent you this.? The rubber contained drugs. Collins inmate Ramond Delgado began gagging and was hospitalized Oct. 4, A drug-filled balloon stuck in his throat, another in his stomach, and a third in his rectum, were removed. Delgado said another inmate in the visiting room passed him a sandwich containing the drugs. When Attica inmate Carmelo Ruiz refused to answer a question upon returning to the cellblock from the recreation yard March 18, 2001, a corrections officer checked Ruiz?s mouth. Ruiz spit out a bag of heroin. Wyoming inmate Isaias Lebron stashed heroin in his sneaker on July 29, 2001, while in the facility?s east yard. After meeting with a visitor Nov. 10, 2001, Attica inmate Wayne A. Page was sent to an observation room, where he expelled four marijuana-filled balloons. Attica inmate Joseph Arroyo, previously caught with drugs in prison, had monitored visits limited to two hours. Still, after a Nov. 17, 2001, visit from his wife, Arroyo?s eyes were glassy, his speech slurred, and he had trouble standing up. Officers found marijuana and 17 packets of heroin, including an open, empty package, in his cell. Page 6

7 Attica inmate Richard Vale on Jan. 13, 2002, took a?white object? from a visitor, then popped it in his mouth. He later was found with heroin and marijuana. Orleans inmate Jesse L. Sanders on March 18, 2002, traded four cans of food for marijuana to celebrate his birthday. Attica inmate Joseph R. Rose, caught with heroin taped to his underwear on April 14, 2002, said he was an addict and bought the drugs from another inmate. Orleans inmate Han Maung dropped a heroin packet after emerging from a bathroom on July, 20, Wyoming inmate Ulisses Rodriguez, after spending time in the prison?s west yard Dec. 12, 2002, was caught with heroin in his pants pocket and hidden in his buttocks. Wyoming inmate Carlos Villalona was caught with marijuana stashed in his long underwear while in the mess hall Jan. 12, After Attica inmates Shawn Martinez and Demetrius Oddiot visited with family members April 20, 2003, 18 packets of heroin were found in Martinez?s cell, and Oddiot had two bags of heroin hidden in his body. Wyoming inmate George Williams had marijuana in the waistband of his pants while in the gym April 27, Attica inmate Isiah Davis was carrying two sugar packets filled with marijuana on May 28, 2003, and had two more packets filled with pot and a seven packets of heroin in his cell. Albion inmate Milagros Ortega was caught in October 2003, with heroin sent by her boyfriend. Gowanda inmate Shane L. Mariano discharged a marijuana-filled balloon Dec. 26, 2003, after being placed in an observation cell following a visit from a woman. Visitor Glady Cintron attempted to smuggle heroin, cocaine, marijuana, tobacco and alcohol to an inmate in Auburn on Jan. 17, Gowanda inmate Dwayne Turner went into the bathroom of the visitor room Jan. 27, 2004, and inserted an object containing marijuana into his rectum. Visitor Ramiro Torres smuggled heroin in a green balloon to an Auburn inmate on Feb. 15, Page 7

8 Visitor Sherry Stallworth tried smuggling three grams of marijuana to a Five Points inmate on April 29, Visitor Georgina Rosa on June 20, 2004, tried smuggling heroin into Five Points, where her husband was an inmate. Attica inmate Nestor Marquez became hysterical on Sept. 22, 2004, when he was unable to retrieve a bag containing what he believed was heroin that he had inserted in his rectum.?i think it burst. I?m going to die,? he said. Marquez was taken to the Attica prison infirmary, where he discharged the bag, still unopened. Its contents were tested, and the powder turned out to be non-narcotic, authorities said. Attica inmate Henry James on Dec. 28, 2004, had six marijuana cigarettes under the pillow in his prison cell and more pot in his rectum, attached to a string. After a visit on July 27, 2005, Collins inmate Mark Robinson began choking on a packet of heroin and was rushed to ECMC, where surgeons operated and removed the packet from his throat. Visitor Melanie A. Driscoll smuggled marijuana into Auburn on Oct. 6, KEYWORDS: PRISONS DRUGS CRIMES Page 8

9 The Buffalo News All content Copyright 2006 The Buffalo News The Buffalo News TAG: BYLINE: : By Lou Michel and Susan Schulman - NEWS STAFF REPORTERS DATE: Monday, September 18, 2006 EDITION: Final SECTION: News PAGE: A1 ILLUSTRATION: Derek Gee/Buffalo News New York State Corrections Officer Joseph Lattanzio conducted cocaine deals while on duty in one of the towers at Wende Correctional Facility in Alden, pictured at left. "We always hope the administrative agency will pursue every remedy possible to rid the system of corrupt correction officers." -U.S. Attorney Terrance P. Flynn GRAPH: Drug activity among state prison employees (see microfilm) TYPE: Special Report SERIES: Jailhouse Highs (part two of four) Dealers in the Guard Tower Joseph Lattanzio worked for 20 years as a New York State corrections officer, but his part-time job helped pay the bills. He was a drug dealer. He sometimes made drug deals on his cell phone, perched in a guard tower in Wende Correctional Facility in Alden. And his long customer list included at least nine other corrections officers, from Attica to Wyoming to Gowanda to Wende, according to court papers and federal officials. Speaking from a halfway house where he finished his prison term, Lattanzio denied selling drugs to inmates but confirmed using drugs himself and supplying cocaine to other prison officers. "It got out of control," Lattanzio said. "I was living a criminal lifestyle." Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Bruce prosecuted Lattanzio, along with Lattanzio's brother -- also a corrections officer -- as well as a third prison officer. "It was the height of brazenness," Bruce said of Lattanzio. Lattanzio lost his prison job, as did the two officers prosecuted along with him. But seven other officers identified in an FBI wiretap as suspected customers of the South Buffalo drug dealer were not arrested. Nor were they confronted by the state Department of Correctional Services. One officer, with a history of drunken driving, was eventually fired in 2005 following an unrelated arrest. The six others continue guarding inmates in a prison system where drug activity flourishes. "It's a matter of serious concern if corrections officers are themselves known to be buying drugs from other corrections officers," said Robert Gangi, executive director of the Correctional Association of New York, a New York City-based prisoner advocacy organization. "Steps must be taken to sanction [the corrections officers.] One concern authorities should have is if [the corrections officers] are bringing drugs in to prison," he said. "Another concern would be, if they are cavalier about the use of drugs and are using and selling themselves, maybe they are looking the other way when drugs are used in prison, or if others are engaged in drug trade in prisons." Lattanzio denied that was happening, but nonetheless said he is mystified that some of his customers still work as corrections officers. Page 9

10 "I think the state somehow put a stop on it," Lattanzio said of an investigation into the other corrections officers. "I don't think they wanted any more bad publicity than what they got from me, but if you are wrong, you are wrong." Federal officials said they arrested the three men who could be charged under federal statutes, then turned over evidence against the others to the state Department of Correctional Services. "We always hope the administrative agency will pursue every remedy possible to rid the system of corrupt corrections officers," U.S. Attorney Terrance P. Flynn said. The case was reviewed, but there wasn't enough evidence to warrant criminal or administrative charges against the seven, Department of Correctional Services officials said. "Based on the evidence collected, several employees were convicted and fired for their off-duty misconduct," department spokeswoman Linda M. Foglia said. "For others, DOCS reached the exact determination as the U.S. Attorney and the Erie County District Attorney -- there was insufficient evidence to take action." "Simply being mentioned in court papers is not enough to warrant disciplinary action," department officials added. >Prison secrecy A Buffalo News investigation found New York has a bigger drug problem in its prisons than surrounding states, yet New York is more secretive about employees involved in drug use, making it difficult to assess how aggressively the state pursues corrupt corrections officers and other employees. The New York State Department of Correctional Services initially refused to release any information on employees involved in drug incidents. But in response to several Freedom of Information requests from The Buffalo News, department officials eventually disclosed that 20 employees a year, on average, are disciplined or resign -- a total of 130 from 2000 to mid-july because of alleged drug activity in and out of prison. The state prison system employs about 32,000 people. The state would not release details of the cases and said it doesn't have numbers available on how many employees were arrested, or how many brought drugs into prison. But Foglia said most arrests involve activities occurring outside the prisons. "They are in the community. That is where the drugs are. That is where they are doing it," she said. In comparison, surrounding states contacted by The News immediately released data on employees accused of bringing drugs into prison. Pennsylvania investigated 12 corrections officers and fired three from 2001 to Michigan fired five employees from 2003 to Ohio in recent years saw one officer arrested each year, officials said. In New York, Foglia said, the department doesn't believe it has a significant problem with employees using drugs, or bringing drugs into prisons. "One (officer involved with drugs) is too many. It is troubling. But when you look at these numbers, we have 32,000 employees, and nine had a problem (so far) this year with drugs... "The majority of staff comes to work and do a damn good job, every single day," Foglia said. There are two known recent cases of employees charged with smuggling drugs into prison; a Green Haven cook who provided inmates with marijuana and an off-duty Bedford Hills corrections officer who smuggled drugs to her boyfriend, an inmate in another state prison in Franklin County. There are other instances, corrections officials said, when cases could not be proven, so the department pressured the employee to resign even though no criminal charges were filed. "When they (Department of Correctional Services) find out an employee or volunteer is bringing drugs in, they quietly get rid of them," said State Sen. Dale Volker, R-Depew. "But if they can prove it, they charge them." If prison employees are convicted of felonies, the department, under the terms of its employee contracts, can fire the workers. Misdemeanor cases must be reviewed on a case by case basis, although the department typically moves for dismissal, Foglia said. The Green Haven cook and the Bedford Hills officer both lost their jobs, as did several officers arrested in recent years by Buffalo area law enforcement for drug activities occurring outside of prison. These local officers included a corrections officer caught at Buffalo Niagara International Airport trying to take a flight to Florida with cocaine in his shoe, as well as a corrections officer arrested by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and accused of being part of a Lockport cocaine and methamphetamine ring. The three officers arrested in the Lattanzio case also either resigned or were dismissed. Department of Correctional Services officials declined to discuss details of their own investigation into the other officers implicated in the Lattanzio case. But, based on interviews with several of the men and their attorneys, it appears none was approached by the department. >FBI agents tipped off FBI agents in 2000 were tipped off to Lattanzio's drug dealing. They set up surveillance and wiretaps, which uncovered a drug network Lattanzio ran from his South Buffalo home, as well as his guard tower in Wende Correctional Facility. Words such as cocaine, powder or drugs never came up in the taped phone conversations, but there were discussions with fellow corrections officers and others making arrangements to stop by Lattanzio's house to make pickups. There were also cryptic references to numbers, such as one or two -- meaning, agents said, the number of packets of cocaine. There was no evidence of Lattanzio or any other corrections officers giving or selling drugs to inmates. Lattanzio was convicted of drug dealing and spent two years in federal prison, then went to a halfway house before being released on parole in April. He resigned from his corrections officer job in October His brother John, a corrections officer in Wende, was also arrested, charged with conspiring with Joseph Lattanzio to buy, sell and distribute cocaine. He was sentenced to probation and fined $200. He resigned in December Also arrested was Mark Cater, another Wende corrections officer, who got one year of probation and was required to enter drug treatment. Cater was accused of possessing, with intent to distribute, cocaine and marijuana. He was dismissed from the Page 10

11 department in 2001 and is now in Kansas. Cater expressed remorse about his drug involvement and declined to comment further. One of the seven other corrections officers caught on federal wiretaps allegedly discussing the purchase of drugs from Lattanzio is Charles Bagley, a corrections officer at state prison in Wyoming County. Bagley was not charged. But the court papers stated he made arrangements to go to Lattanzio's house for a drug purchase. "In the call, Lattanzio told Bagley he would be home in about 10 minutes. The two agreed Bagley would 'swing by' Lattanzio's residence to obtain cocaine from Lattanzio," court records state. Shortly after this call, an FBI agent went to Lattanzio's house and spotted Bagley's pickup parked there. Bagley told The News he was familiar with the Lattanzio case and said there was no evidence proving he purchased cocaine. "It's in the past, seven or eight years ago, and I don't have any comment," Bagley said. Another officer picked up on the surveillance, James Gruber, was arrested twice for drunken driving before the FBI probe. In 2004, he was arrested on petty larceny and drug charges, and was fired in January 2005, authorities said. "That was a long time ago," Gruber said when asked about the Lattanzio case and his job as a corrections officer. "It's in my past. I have no comment." Two other corrections officers identified as suspected drug buyers could not be reached for comment while three others -- one from Gowanda, one from Wende and one from Attica -- denied ever buying cocaine from Lattanzio, and declined further comment. "Those are accusations," the Wende officer said. "I am still employed." and KEYWORDS: PRISON DRUGS CORRECTIONS OFFICERS Page 11

12 The Buffalo News All content Copyright 2006 The Buffalo News The Buffalo News TAG: DATE: Monday, September 18, 2006 EDITION: Final SECTION: News PAGE: A6 ILLUSTRATION: Derek Gee/Buffalo News SERIES: Jailhouse Highs Guard smuggled drugs to boyfriend Lila Simmon says she never did drugs but for years dated a man with a drug problem. When he was convicted of a felony drug offense, Simmon smuggled marijuana to him in prison. In 2003, Simmon got a job as a prison corrections officer and, she said, stopped being a courier for her boyfriend. But he badgered her until she gave in, she said. On Nov. 19, 2005, the Bedford Hills corrections officer stuffed 55 grams of marijuana in her underwear and inside a body cavity, then boarded a bus from New York City to Upstate Correctional Facility in Franklin County. While she was in line waiting to get into the prison, a state investigator approached and arrested her for bringing drugs into the prison. She resigned as a corrections officer and was convicted of a misdemeanor. Months later, interviewed at her home in Queens, Simmon denied ever bringing drugs to work and said she thinks it's wrong that inmates use drugs in prison. "I never gave drugs to anyone I watched, and even though I did what I did, I was not thinking in the capacity of an officer," she said. "I knew better." Simmon declined to say whether she knew any other prison employees who sold or gave drugs to inmates, but did say all prison personnel should be checked when coming to work. "Besides checking the visitors coming in, they should be checking the correction officers and everyone." she said. - Lou Michel KEYWORDS: PRISON CORRECTIONS OFFICERS DEALERS Page 12

13 The Buffalo News All content Copyright 2006 The Buffalo News The Buffalo News TAG: DATE: Monday, September 18, 2006 EDITION: Final SECTION: News PAGE: A6 ILLUSTRATION: Derek Gee/Buffalo News SERIES: Jailhouse Highs 'Small-town guy' deals drugs in prison John McMurry, 49, describes himself as a smalltown guy who hoped to get a job as a cook in one of the state's minimum-security prison camps. Instead, he said, he ended up working in Great Meadow Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison about 60 miles north of Albany. After 10 years on the job, Mc- Murry was arrested in January 2000 when an inmate was caught with 5.27 ounces of marijuana and told authorities that McMurry was his source. McMurry confessed and admitted bringing marijuana for inmates three other times. He was paid with a share of the marijuana. He served almost a year in prison. Speaking from his home in Washington County, McMurry described prison as a big city behind walls, a far different place from the farm life he was used to. "I'm from a little town," he said. "I got chickens and rabbits." Inmates, he said, took advantage of him. "Your kindness becomes your weakness," he said. McMurry said he only did what he felt he had to do to survive in an environment where he didn't fit in. "If I was the type of person from New York City or Buffalo, I would have been a tough guy. If you approached me, I would have put you in your place," he said. "What I was trying to do was survive." McMurry said he wasn't aware of any other prison employees bringing drugs in to inmates at Great Meadow. - Susan Schulman KEYWORDS: PRISON EMPLOYEES DEALERS DRUGS Page 13

14 The Buffalo News All content Copyright 2006 The Buffalo News The Buffalo News TAG: BYLINE: : By Lou Michel and Susan Schulman - NEWS STAFF REPORTERS DATE: Tuesday, September 19, 2006 EDITION: Final SECTION: News PAGE: A1 ILLUSTRATION: Derek Gee/Buffalo News Corrections Officer Scott Priester and his drug-sniffing K-9 partner, Tina, patrol the lobby outside the visiting room at the Erie County Correctional Facility. Derek Gee/Buffalo News A sign at the Erie County Correctional Facility prepares visitors for a drug search. SERIES: Jailhouse Highs No Safe Haven County jails are just as drug-infested as state prisons housing convicted felons It's not just the state prisons, with their razor-wire fences and mammoth brick walls, letting drugs in. County jails, often holding people awaiting trial, can be just as drug-infested, some more so, The Buffalo News investigation found. And jail inmates, like prison inmates, are dying. In New York State, the dead include: Jason Ciurczak, 30, the son of Amherst man and a Youngstown woman, being held in the Erie County jail on drug charges. Daniel Riccio, 28, from a suburban Long Island family, being held in the Nassau County jail because of drugs charge. Kathleen Brennan, 26, the daughter of a New York City police officer, being held in the Orange County jail because of drug charges. All three were drug addicts - awaiting trial, sentencing or rehabilitation placement on drug charges - who fatally overdosed on drugs they obtained while in county jails. In New York State, at least 10 inmates fatally overdosed in 10 county jails outside New York City since Another 10 died of drug overdose in New York City's jails, state records show. That's in addition to the 19 who died of drug overdoses in New York state prisons. Nationally, a prisoner in a county jail is more than four times as likely to die of a drug overdose than a state prison inmate. Overdoses represent 1.2 percent of deaths in all state prisons versus 5.2 percent of the deaths in county jails. "Jails are a stepchild of the criminal justice system," said Ken Kerle, with the American Jail Association.Jailers bringing drugs in With their budget limitations, constant flow of inmates and sometimes head-in-the-sand attitudes, The News found, county jails often don't have the ability or interest to keep illegal and deadly drugs away from inmates. As with prisons, visitors smuggle most of the drugs into jails, but employees are also involved. The News found at least a dozen county corrections officers arrested over the past decade for smuggling drugs into jails outside New York City, including one who allowed drugs to be mixed in with orders of Chinese food brought into jail. Another 26 corrections officers at Rikers Island, New York City's primary jail, were arrested over the past 15 years, state records show. The state doesn't keep statistics on drug-related incidents in county jails, but a News survey found more than 300 inmates and visitors arrested on drug-related charges annually in the state's 60 county jails outside New York City and some 250 last year in New York City jails. Outside New York City, the incidents are more prevalent in the state's most-populous urban counties, including Erie and Monroe, and suburban New York City counties, including Orange and Nassau. That's also true with overdose deaths. Page 14

15 >Addicts in the family The Brennan, Riccio and Ciurczak families acknowledge their loved ones were drug addicts. "He was at my house with [a girlfriend], and they went into the bathroom, and I happened to walk around the corner and the door was open. I just wanted to collapse. It was heartbreaking," said Ciurczak's mother, Susan Canfield. "[His girlfriend] was shooting him up. He had a bungee cord around his left arm. I yelled at him, "Why the hell are you doing this? You're letting this ruin your life.' " Canfield, like relatives of the other overdose victims, was relieved when her son ended up in jail on a drug possession charge. There, she felt, her son would be safe, away from the drugs she feared were killing him. But within months, Ciurczak was dead, killed on Jan. 17, 2005, by an overdose of heroin that a fellow Erie County jail inmate injected into the 30-year-old's neck. It was a similar story with Daniel Riccio, a drug addict sent back to jail in 2001 after his parole officer determined Riccio was still using drugs. He died of a drug overdose in Nassau County jail on Feb. 14, 2001, while waiting to be placed in a drug treatment program. Kathleen Brennan was sent back to jail after failing to complete a drug rehabilitation program. On Nov. 26, 2003, four days before her release from the Orange County jail, Brennan was snorting heroin that another inmate smuggled into jail. She died of an overdose. "We were totally blown away when we heard she OD'd," said her mother, Denise Brennan. "How was another inmate able to secret 100 bags of heroin into the jail?" >Kissing bans overturned In their defense, some county jail officials say that they recognize visitors are smuggling drugs to inmates but that they don't have the wherewithal to stop it. Two counties - Cayuga and Wayne - banned inmates and visitors in recent years from kissing on the lips, hoping that would stop drug exchanges. But the bans were challenged by the state Commission on Corrections, which oversees county jails, and overturned. In addition, while state prisons confine inmates already convicted, usually of felonies, county jails hold inmates convicted of misdemeanors and also serve as holding centers for defendants awaiting resolution of pending court cases. These people are still considered innocent. Given that, local jails can't routinely strip-search inmates, something state prisons do. Jails also handle inmates serving weekend jail sentences. "Weekend-sentenced inmates often bring in the drugs. They have all week to figure out how to get it in," said Lt. James Ginty, a Sullivan County jail supervisor. Also, most jail inmates live in the community where the facility is located, making it easier for friends, family and criminal associates to visit. It also may be why county jails appear to have more problems than state prisons with corrections officers bringing drugs into the facilities. "It might be in some localities the officers know the inmates from their neighborhoods, and, unlike state prisons, there's a familiarity that occurs with inmates who keep coming back," said Dominick Orsino, administrator of the Orange County jail and a former deputy superintendent at two state prisons. Many jail officials also say they just don't have the money needed for such things as drug testing, electronic drug detection devices, drug-sniffing dogs. "We're looking at [electronic drug detection] scanners, but they are pretty expensive for a small, local jail," said Lt. John Mack, head of the Cayuga County jail. Not that all jail administrators think there are problems. Erie County Correctional Facility - where Jason Ciurczak died - requires visitors to open their mouths before entering the visiting room so officers can check for drugs. Visitors are also often searched by drug-sniffing dogs. "I don't think drugs are a problem in jail," said Donald J. Livingston, the facility's superintendent. "Jason was an anomaly in my mind. He was determined to get drugs in, and he did." >Questions raised Yet, Ciurczak's death raised questions among state investigators over the Erie County jail's procedures for detecting drugs smuggled into the facility, as well as the training deputies receive for recognizing signs of drug abuse. Ciurczak was dead in his bunk for three hours, the state found, before he was discovered by jail deputies. The commission also recommended the Erie County jail revise its inventory controls on the distribution and disposal of hypodermic syringes that the jail's medical staff controls. Authorities never determined how Ciurczak obtained a needle in jail, but the man who fatally injected him told authorities Ciurczak got it from a diabetic inmate. The state had similar criticisms and recommendations for the jails in Orange and Nassau counties, where Brennan and Riccio died. Nassau County should increase the use of drug-detecting dogs and purchase other types of interdiction equipment, the commission wrote. "Introduction of prison contraband continues to be an issue and has been cited as a contributing factor in previous inmate deaths at the Nassau County Correctional Center," the commission stated. The jail also needs to develop a system identifying inmates, like Riccio, who got caught with drugs during prior incarcerations in the jail, the state said. Page 15

16 After Brennan's death in Orange County, the state also determined that the jail needs better drug detection equipment and inmate supervision. Brennan was so high the night she died, other inmates had to help her into her cell and came by to check on her, with permission from a corrections officer. Apparently, jail officers didn't question what was going on, the state found. The state also questioned a statement from a corrections officer who claimed to have checked Brennan at 6:30 a.m. on Nov. 26, 2003, and found she was fine. In fact, the state pointed out, she had died 71/2 hours earlier. Jail personnel should "have their conduct reviewed for not verifying that Brennan was alive and breathing...," the commission wrote. and >Guard arrests Drug trade sometimes involves people who oversee prisoners Oneida County corrections officers Stephen DeSalvo and Robert DeBiase were arrested in May 1997 for selling cocaine in jail. An October 2000 sting operation in Albany County jail ended in the arrest of Corrections Officer Matthew Tortorici for smuggling in marijuana. Sixteen inmates and two visitors were also arrested. Corrections Officer Michael Pfriender Jr., caught bringing marijuana into Sullivan County jail, was sentenced Dec. 5, 2001, and jailed for six months. Onondaga County Correctional Facility Sgt. Paul Mayes was charged in November 2002 with smuggling drugs into the jail. Onondaga County jail Deputy Dwayne Hall allowed an inmate to arrange for drugs to come into jail through fast-food orders, said senior assistant District Attorney Michael Ferrante. The 2004 case is pending. Oneida County Corrections Officer John M. Dempsey was arrested for bringing marijuana laced with methamphetamine into jail in Twenty-six New York City corrections officers, in addition to civilian employees, have been charged with smuggling drugs into Rikers Island, the New York City jail, since >The Series Sunday: Drugs flow into New York state prisons. Some inmates overdose. Others return to society as drug addicts. Monday: A Wende corrections officer was also a big-time dealer, with a customer list which, officials say, included other officers. Today: County jails, often holding people awaiting trial, can be just as drug-infested, some more so, than state prisons. Wednesday: It's not a panacea, but some say the Willard Drug Treatment Center offers lessons on how to keep illegal drugs out of New York?s prisons. KEYWORDS: NEW YORK STATE POLICE JAILS PRISONS DRUGS Page 16

17 The Buffalo News All content Copyright 2006 The Buffalo News The Buffalo News TAG: DATE: Tuesday, September 19, 2006 EDITION: Final SECTION: News PAGE: A8 ILLUSTRATION: Kathleen A. Brennan Died Nov. 25, 2003 Orange County jail Jason Ciurczak Died Jan. 17, 2005 Erie County Correctional Facility Daniel Riccio Died Feb. 14, 2001 Nassau County Jail SERIES: Jailhouse Highs Three found drugs -- and death -- in jail >Former high school athlete dead at 26 Kathleen A. Brennan wanted to follow in her father's footsteps and become a police officer. But the attractive young woman, who excelled in sports, ended up a drug addict. Three years ago, she was sent back to Orange County jail after failing to complete a drug rehabilitation program. Brennan was partying with other inmates in the jail, authorities said, sitting around a table on Nov. 25, 2003, snorting some of the 100 bags of heroin another inmate smuggled in. She was found dead in her cell the following morning. Her family says it was an untimely ending for the 26-year-old, whom they described as a dedicated athlete at Washingtonville High School, about 50 miles north of New York City. Throughout her teenage years, Brennan played softball and basketball and was once voted most valuable player on her softball team. "She went to the prom and graduated from Washingtonville High School in three years," said Denise Brennan, her mother. "She wanted to do law enforcement. My husband is a retired New York City police officer." Instead, she turned to drugs, fell in love with a drug user and had two children, her mother said. After that, there were absences - jail and drug rehabilitation programs. When Kathleen Brennan's older daughter asked where her mother was, Denise Brennan explained, "Mommy is in special school." It was more difficult when Kathleen Brennan died. "God needed a special angel," Denise Brennan told her grandchildren. -- Lou Michel >'Go-to-guy' for drugs dies after injection Jason Ciurczak excelled at hockey but struggled in school. When his parents divorced, he lived in Amherst with his father, Walter. His mother, Susan, lived in Youngstown. At 16, Ciurczak was arrested for robbery, and was in and out of county jails and state prisons ever since, getting deeper and deeper into drugs as the years went on. "He got hooked on heroin upstate [Clinton Correctional Facility]. That's how it all started with that heroin," said his fiancee, Keri Cheetham. Page 17

18 In July 2004, after being arrested in the Town of Tonawanda on drug charges, Ciurczak, then 30, went to the Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden, waiting for his case to go to court. While there, he developed a reputation as a go-to guy for drugs. "He could supply marijuana, heroin, tobacco, and I heard he could get cocaine," Joseph F. D'Amico, Ciurczak's bunkmate, told investigators. A female visitor brought Ciurczak drugs, investigators said. At about 3 a.m. on Jan. 17, 2005, Ciurczak went into the bathroom off the corner of his dormitory with another inmate who, at Ciurczak's request, injected Ciurczak in the neck with heroin, investigators said. Ciurczak came out of the bathroom and sat on the side of his bunk for the rest of the night. At about 6:15 a.m., when he didn't get up to help hand out breakfast trays, an officer went over to his bunk. Ciurczak was dead, a pool a vomit at the base of his bunk. Dick Cooper, the inmate who injected the heroin into Ciurczak, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to up to 11 years in prison. -- Lou Michel >'Easier to get drugs in jail than on the street' Linda Riccio was getting dressed to visit her son on Valentine's Day five years ago when the phone rang at 10:45 a.m. It was Nassau County jail calling to say her son, Daniel, was dead. "I was upstairs, and I heard my wife screaming, 'Danny's dead. Danny's dead,' " Michael Riccio said. "I ran down and picked up the phone and said, 'What do you mean, my son's dead? What did you do to him? He can't be dead.' " One of five children raised in middleclass Levittown, Long Island, Riccio, 28, dreamed of one day becoming a house painter or an electrician, but drugs always got the best of him. A drug addict since 16, he bounced around the system, from the local jail to state prisons and rehabilitation programs. On Jan. 30, 2001, authorities revoked Riccio's parole after he tested positive for drugs. He was sent to Nassau County jail to wait for an opening in a drug rehabilitation program, his mother said. A day before Valentine's Day 2001, a female visitor smuggled drugs to Riccio in jail, authorities said. Riccio was found dead in his cell the next morning. An autopsy determined he ingested a condom filled with heroin, his family said. Years later, Michael Riccio is still haunted by something his son often said. "He said to me many, many times, 'I don't give a...if I go to jail. It's easier for me to get drugs in jail than on the street.' " -- Lou Michel KEYWORDS: NEW YORK STATE PRISONERS DRUGS PRISONS JAILS Page 18

19 The Buffalo News All content Copyright 2006 The Buffalo News The Buffalo News TAG: BYLINE: : By LOU MICHEL and SUSAN SCHULMAN - News Staff Reporters DATE: Wednesday, September 20, 2006 EDITION: Final SECTION: News PAGE: A1 ILLUSTRATION: Derek Gee/Buffalo News Stacey Baxter hated the militaristic atmosphere at Willard Drug Treatment Center, but says she realizes the facility may have saved her life. "I hated it when I came here...[but] I think it is the best thing I've done," she said. "It's too hard to be a dope fiend. I don't miss that life." -- Stacey Baxter, former drug addict SERIES: Jailhouse Highs THREE MONTHS TO GET CLEAN Inmates get 90 days to kick habit at one prison devoted to treatment Cheryl Davis and Stacey Baxter are longtime drug addicts who have been in and out of jail for years. Davis still roams the streets of Buffalo, stealing to pay for her dope. Baxter is now drug-free, although it's a constant struggle. The difference, in part, could be how the criminal-justice system treated the women. Baxter was scooped up by her parole officer and sent to Willard Drug Treatment Center after the 35-year-old Jamestown woman injected herself with heroin in an inpatient drug treatment center. Years earlier, when Davis' drug addiction landed her back in court, her attorney begged the judge to place Davis, 37, in Willard, too. "If she has any chance at all of ever being successfully assimilated into society and having any kind of a meaningful and productive life, she has to deal with her addiction problem," attorney Bonnie McLaughlin told the judge. But Davis didn't meet Willard's court-required entrance criteria, so instead was sent to Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, a women's prison in Westchester County. "We'd do heroin at the Erie County Holding Center," Davis said. "In state prison, [drugs] are more plentiful. I got drugs from other convicts and guards." A one-time agricultural school converted into a state hospital for the mentally ill, Willard was transformed in 1995 into New York's only prison exclusively for drug addicts, a 900-bed facility in the Finger Lakes. Some say Willard offers lessons on how to keep illegal drugs out of New York's prisons. But Willard's not a panacea. It doesn't transform everyone. Craig M. Lynch went to Willard twice, only to kill a beloved Buffalo nun while high on crack cocaine less than a year after his release. Bruce Ferguson, who grew up in Williamsville, also went there but returned to committing crimes when he got out. He ended up in state prison, snorting heroin with another inmate. Ferguson survived. His cellmate, Michael Vlahoff of Lancaster, didn't. There are others. No one knows how many. The state doesn't keep statistics on former Willard inmates. They don't know how many succeed on the outside, and how many relapse. They don't know if the recidivism rate is any better than the 40 percent in traditional prisons. Nonetheless, Willard is one of the few correctional facilities in New York where inmates can't seem to get their hands on drugs. No Willard inmates tested positive in drug screenings, and there are no reports of drug confiscations at the center, state officials said. Inmates don't bring drugs into the facility because the program is devoted to changing behavior, and because inmates know if they get caught with drugs, they will get an extended sentence at a traditional prison, rather than 90 days at Willard, officials said. "They know they're going home rather than going to prison. It's a carrot," said Deputy Superintendent Daniel M. West. > Intense experience Page 19

20 Stacey Baxter was at Willard for three months last fall. It was an intense experience, she said. The day began at 5:30 a.m., with a one-to three-mile run before breakfast, followed by drug treatment sessions, academic instruction and vocational training. Random drug tests are also part of the routine. It's all in a military-like setting, with dormitory-style quarters rather than cells and corrections officers acting more like drill sergeants than prison guards. In fact, officers come around making sure beds are properly made and personal items are kept neatly in cabinets. Inmates are allowed visitors once every two weeks, on weekends only. Contact visits are allowed, just as at traditional prisons. "I hated it when I came here," Baxter said of Willard, but added: "If I didn't [go to Willard] I'd be dead. I think it is the best thing I've done." Now home in Jamestown, Baxter regularly attends outpatient drug treatment sessions initially set up by Willard. Still, it's a constant battle. Since she was 12 years old, Baxter says, she has taken drugs. She spent much of her life in foster care, detention and behind bars. Now, while drug-free, she dreams of getting high at night and thinks about drugs during the day. In fact, she had one slip since being released from Willard that landed her back in the hospital. But with two children, and a third on the way, Baxter says she's committed to staying clean. "Now I'm fine. I'm clean off everything. I put myself back in outpatient," she said, adding: "It's too hard to be a dope fiend. I don't miss that life." > Cheryl Davis' world Cheryl Davis still lives in that world. Standing outside her West Side apartment last winter, Davis was thin and tired. She wanted a heroin fix. "You know I'm a drug addict," she said. "I can't talk today." Another day, when doped up and feeling better, Davis said her mother, then father, died in separate car accidents only months apart when she was a young girl. "I come from a very good family," she said. By the time Davis turned 16, she was a high school dropout and prostitute. Her life has been a constant mix of drugs, prostitution and thievery, broken up periodically by jail, prison and halfway houses. She has been arrested 71 times in the Buffalo area. In 1999, after stabbing another drug user, Davis was back in court. While her attorney wanted Davis sentenced to Willard, the judge said Davis didn't qualify because she was a violent felon. She got a prison sentence of 16 months to 3 years. She came out of prison as drug-addicted as when she went in. And since her release, she's been arrested 13 times on drug, prostitution, theft, assault and forgery charges. Davis spent the better part of 2006 in jail, after being caught stealing from stores along Niagara Falls Boulevard. She is now back on the streets. Judges can place convicts in Willard for drug-related offenses, but not violent felonies. District attorneys and judges, however, appear reluctant to ship convicts to Willard's 90-day program in lieu of lengthier prison sentences. Just 18 of the state's 62 counties refer convicts to Willard directly from court, Willard Superintendent Melvin Williams said. Willard inmates are also referred to the facility for violating parole. Unlike the courts, parole can commit violent felonies to Willard. That's how Baxter got in. Davis qualified under those terms, but never got such a referral. "The community wants people to go to prison," Williams said. > Seeking solutions Some suggest beefing up drug tests and imposing tighter procedures on contact visits, including drug-sniffing dogs as a way to combat drugs in state prisons. But those ideas have detractors, who complain of costs to the state and civil rights of visitors. An alternative, some say, is to expand programs such as those offered in Willard into regular prisons, even creating drug-free wings. Inmates in these wings would voluntarily receive aggressive drug testing as well as early drug treatment. Buffalo City Judge Robert T. Russell Jr., who runs the city's drug court, said he has seen drug-free wings in European prisons, where corrections officers take a more active role in rehabilitating drug addicts. Such programs disrupt the market for drugs in prison, said Alan Rosenthal, director of justice strategies at the Center for Community Alternatives in Syracuse. "Many people are processed through [prisons], and they never receive drug treatment," Rosenthal said. "The inmate who is in an intensive treatment program is less likely to be searching out drugs." Beyond that, better outpatient treatment when prisoners are released is also needed, Rosenthal said. Improved drug treatment in and out of prison, Russell said, would help inmates and better protect the public - and could also save money. Drug-addicted inmates released back into society "are going to come back, and you're going to spend $35,000 a year to reincarcerate them," Rosenthal said. and Page 20

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