Dept. of Corrections increases efforts to combat drugs in prisons

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) The Department of Corrections is increasing efforts to remove drugs from prisons and keep them out, using a network of law enforcement officials.

Within the past month a defense attorney has been charged and a former corrections officer convicted for involvement in smuggling drugs into prison. Both cases stemmed from increased efforts at the Dept. of Corrections to keep drugs out of prison, according to Commissioner Dean Williams.

"We're going after it in ways we never did before," Williams said. "I would like to never have another case to be quite frank. Two is more than enough but the reality is i know that the problem is much more profound than that."

Williams said drug smuggling in prison is more common than many people might think, and involves a range of drugs. He says most concerning is heroin and suboxone, which is intended to manage opioid dependence, but can also be abused.

In the past year, key stakeholders started meeting regularly to discuss strategies and information. Correctional officers, security officers, FBI agents, Alaska State Troopers and the District Attorney's office are all involved in the process.

"While I kind of consider it the bane, quite frankly, of someone at my job on one level, I could not be more ecstatic and happy with where we are right now in comparison to where we started," Williams said.

Williams did not elaborate if more arrests would be forthcoming.

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