Overdosed in the Mohawk Valley, Part 2: Opioids behind bars

The Oneida County jail keeps criminals and accused criminals secure behind their walls. If only keeping drugs out was that easy.

Posted: Feb 27, 2018 7:50 PM

The Oneida County jail keeps criminals and accused criminals secure behind their walls. If only keeping drugs out was that easy.

"When they meet or depart, they get to kiss on the lips and that's where contraband is passed," says Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol. "That is the most common way that it makes its way into a correctional facility and you can figure it out from there how they retrieve it later on in the day," says Maciol, indicating that it is retrieved, hours later, in the bathroom.

When an inmate enters the jail under the influence of drugs, or has used in the past 30 days, they require one on one supervision; something that is decimating the jail budget.

"When you require a one on one with an inmate 24 hours a day, we've seen spikes as high as finishing out a couple years ago, half a million dollars over budget in overtime," says Maciol. "A year ago, we had three inmates simultaneously overdose three cells, side by side, all in one unit."

While the financial cost is gargantuan and undeniable, to Maciol, the human cost is heatbreaking.

"It's sad, because my office is right outside the main entrance to the jail," he said, "and I see inmates that are discharged and they leave here and I can recognize their faces and it's sad, because three or four days from now, I'll look on the list of who's come in the night before and those same names are gonna reappear."

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