Whitley County Jail changing inmate mail screening

In November, more than 30 Allen County Jail employees were taken to the hospital after coming into contact with a drug.

Posted: Dec. 13, 2017 10:23 PM
Updated: Dec. 14, 2017 9:36 AM

WHITLEY COUNTY, Ind. (WFFT) - Jails across northeast Indiana are making changes to how they screen inmate mail.

In November, more than 30 Allen County Jail employees were taken to the hospital after coming into contact with a drug.

The Allen County Sheriff's Department said they believe the drug came in through the mail.

Now, Sheriff David Gladieux is looking into changing its procedures.

However, Whitley County is putting those changes in place this week.

Whitley County Sheriff Marcus Gatton said he doesn't want it to happen in his jail.

"Yes we have had drugs introduced into this facility," he said.

Beginning December 15, Whitley County confinement officers will spend more time going through mail.

"We need to implement some changes here at Whitley County for the safety of the inmates," Gatton said.

Officers will scan letters using an old projector and only sending the front of the envelope to the inmate.

While the new process requires more manpower, Sheriff Gatton said it's worth it, and he's not alone.

"It's actually a crisis for the whole United States from coast to coast. No matter the size of your jail," he said.

The goal of these changes is to help reduce the amount of drugs getting to inmates.

"We're going to help to reduce possible suboxone strips coming in on the mail flaps of the glue flap of the envelope," said Gatton.

The new rules also ban some things coming in the mail. Colored cards, such as birthday and Christmas cards, are on that list.

"We've also limited no more crayon writings on it because some of the drugs can be melted down in the crayons or some possible ink and brought in the way it's been found," said Gatton.

Gatton said he'll continue fighting to keep drugs out of the cells.

"As long as we have people addicted to drugs we're going to have people think of new ways to try to introduce them into a jail setting," he said.

The Whitley County Sheriff said they will re-evaluate this procedure in about six months.

DeKalb County Sheriff Don Lauer said he is also looking at changing procedures there.

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