You Can’t Even Escape Opioids in Prison

opiates smuggled into prison

Going to prison is one of the few end results of addiction. Any addict basically has 3 options once getting uncontrollably hooked on drugs; getting clean, overdosing and dying, or going to prison or some other institution. Obviously, if a person winds up in prison, society itself has come in and imposed justice on them, due in part to their criminal behavior that served as means to continue getting high. There’s this idea, and I don’t really know where it came from, that going to prison can serve as a means to get clean and sober. Ultimately, prisons, often called “correctional” facilities, are supposed to treat and rehabilitate offenders and allow them to eventually reintegrate into society after their sentence has ended. A pipe dream, indeed. The fact of the matter is that not only do prisons not rehabilitate inmates by any stretch of the imagination but conversely, they wind up creating better criminals. I mean, that’s what happens if you lock a bunch of offenders up together and offer them virtually nothing to better themselves other than shoddy and underfunded drug treatment and vocational programs. Sometimes, the inmates aren’t the only criminals at a prison. Oftentimes, the very people employed there who are supposed to be rehabilitating and protecting the inmates are the ones perpetuating their addictions and criminal activity.

Recently, a correctional officer at the MCI-Norfolk State Prison in Massachusetts plead guilty to smuggling Suboxone into the facility. A federal investigation was conducted that looked into the activities of the officer, William Holts. A confidential informant working with the FBI and Department of Corrections stated that Officer Holts was willing to bring in anything, as long as it wasn’t syringes and heroin. During the investigation, it was found that Holts offered to sneak in over 100 Suboxone strips for a $2,000 price tag.

FBI Special Agent Lisa Crandall wrote in a court affidavit, “Intelligence gathered at that time revealed that MCI-Norfolk Corrections Officer William Holts has been smuggling contraband into MCI-Norfolk for the last six months. Holts is known to smuggle street clothes, to include gloves and shorts, microchips, and watches into MCI-Norfolk to provide to an inmate in his unit."

Holts has been offered a plea agreement that includes 3 months of house arrest, a $2,000 fine, and time served.

That, to me, is insane. This guy smuggled drugs into a secure facility for a profit when he should have been upholding the law and got a slap on the wrist. In no way, shape, or form is incarceration successful in handling drug addiction. I speak to families every day who are relieved that their loved one got arrested and is “safe” in jail. On the contrary, they are anything but safe. Our State’s Department of Corrections ability to rehabilitate and help offenders is lacking, at best. Only in the U.S. do we have a private sector for prisons. We lock people up for the profit of large corporations and offer virtually no help whatsoever.

What are we doing? I think we’re confused…

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Jason Good

Jason has been working in the field of addiction and recovery for over 10 years. Having been an addict himself he brings real-word experience to the table when helping addicts and their families, while also offering a first-person perspective to the current drug crisis. Jason is passionate about educating the public about what’s currently going on in our society, and thankfully, offers practical solutions. Jason is also the co-host of The Addiction Podcast—Point of No Return. You can follow Jason on Google+, Twitter, or connect with him on LinkedIn.