Union for corrections officers says contraband, drugs becoming bigger issue at Orleans prison

Staff Reports Posted 12 May 2017 at 5:36 pm

ALBION – Correction officers were injured in three separate incidents at Orleans Correctional Facility in Albion, the NYS Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association said in a news release today.

The union worries that more illegal drugs are making their way inside the prison.

“In the past three months alone at Orleans, we have had 106 inmates fail urine tests because of illegal substances,” said Joe Miano, Western Region Vice President for NYSCOPBA. “Obviously, DOCCS Administration must do more to stop the influx of contraband inside the walls or these type of incidents will continue to occur.”

The first incident occurred on April 28 at approximately 10:15 p.m. at the Orleans Correctional Facility. An officer conducting his count for the evening found an inmate unresponsive in his cell. Officers entered the inmate’s cell and it appeared he was on some type of illegal substance, the union said.

The officers got the inmate to his feet and were escorting him to medical to get checked out when an officer observed the inmate reach into his pocket and place a balloon like material into his mouth.

The officers began to struggle with the inmate as they attempted to get him to spit out the substance. The inmate was taken to the ground. On the ground, the inmate bit an officer’s left hand. A second officer injured his thumb in the struggle, NYSCOPBA said.

The inmate was placed in restraints and frisked. He was found with three additional cellophane bags on him that officers believe contained synthetic marijuana.

The officer who was bitten was treated at Medina Memorial Hospital. He was treated, released and returned to duty.

The inmate, whose name is not being released, is 24 years old and is serving a four-year sentence after being convicted of Assault 1st in Bronx County in 2016.

In another incident at Orleans, on May 7 at approximately 4:40 p.m., an officer heard yelling near one of the cubes in the dorm at Orleans. He observed an inmate running to the back of the dorm and fall to the floor.

The officer responded and found the inmate unresponsive. He called for medical immediately. Still with the inmate, the officer observed him begin to yell and violently thrash his body. The inmate attempted to get off the floor several times. As the officer attempted to help the inmate, he was violently kicked directly in his face, the union said.

Medical personnel arrived on the scene and the inmate became calm and was placed in restraints. The injured officer was taken to Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital for treatment of a lacerated lip and bruising on his face. He was treated and released.

The inmate, 22, who was believed to be on synthetic marijuana at the time of the incident, is serving a five-year sentence for Attempted Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance, Assault 2nd and Attempted Criminal Possession of a Weapon 2nd after being convicted in 2014 in Niagara County.

The third incident occurred on May 8 at approximately 8:15 a.m. Acting on a tip, an officer was going to search the living quarters of Inmate Anwar Cohen for illegal drugs. The officer entered the dorm and located Cohen on the phone. He was ordered to the wall to be frisked, NYSCOPBA said.
The officer located four baggies that contained synthetic marijuana and Percocet pills in his pocket. The inmate was placed in restraints and additional officers responded to the scene. As Cohen was going to be removed from the dorm, he kicked backwards and hit an officer in the shin. Three officers attempted to get the inmate under control but he struggled with them. During the struggle the officers and Cohen fell to the ground where he then became compliant.

Cohen, 38, was removed from the dorm and faces disciplinary charges. He is serving a 10-year sentence for Burglary 1st and Robbery 1st after being convicted in Suffolk County in 2011.

“Contraband continues to be a serious problem at all state prisons,” stated Miano, Western Region VP for NYSCOPBA. “Since 2010, we have almost doubled the amount of contraband seized in our facilities.”

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