In January, two corrections officers in Oneida County had to receive Narcan for the very first time, after opening the mail from infected inmates. This device, the MX908, will help protect COs and prison staff by screening some inmate mail for dangerous drugs. Oneida County Jail is the first in the state to have the device. For now, they will only use it on legal mail, to detainees, to lawyers.
“Because that’s where we have the problem of exposure, that’s through the legal mail, because it actually has to be opened in the presence of the inmate, so it’s going to be screened before opening,” says Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol.
Mail from legal detainees, for starters.
“Obviously it’s a portable device,” says Sheriff Maciol. “So if it’s a drug seizure, if it’s a crime scene or potentially a traffic stop or if there’s some type of unknown substance…. .” which is why we have law enforcement trained on this today.
And maybe, eventually, it will be used outside the realm of law enforcement.
“This is something that could be used in other government facilities, depending on the availability of funds to purchase these machines,” says Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, Jr.. “There has been questionable mail in our facilities.”
A grant from the county health department paid for the $65,000 device.