The number of Maryland prison inmates testing positive for drugs has increased by 20 percent since last year, the Baltimore Sun reports. The increases, which suggests that more drugs are penetrating security checkpoints and getting into the state’s prisons, comes amid complaints that staff cutbacks have compromised prison safety and security. The Maryland Division of Correction released the testing data in response to a public information act request by The Sun. Reports show that 343 of 12,035 inmates tested in Maryland’s 12 medium- and maximum-security prisons during the first six months of this year had positive results for drugs including heroin, cocaine, and marijuana.
Maryland Correction Commissioner Frank C. Sizer Jr. conceded that drugs are a problem in prisons. Officials constantly struggle to stay ahead of inventive methods that smugglers find to bring in drugs and other contraband. “It’s like a cat-and-mouse game,” Sizer said. “You close one hole, and they find another.” He said the increase in positive test results “tells me is we are doing a better job in our spot checking.” Ron Bailey of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees disagreed: “Obviously, more drugs are coming in, and this is an indication of it. My feeling is that this is the result of a lack of adequate staffing and a lack of adequate searching of both visitors and staff.”