By John McClaughry
Steven Greenhut, writing in the Orange County (California) Register, makes an interesting point about drugs in prisons. He quotes a San Francisco Chronicle news story that reads “Nearly 1,000 men and women in California prisons overdosed last year and required emergency medical attention in what officials acknowledge is part of an alarming spike in opioid use by those behind bars.”.
“Think about that revelation,” Greenhut writes. “They are among the most tightly controlled environments on Earth, yet correction officials can’t figure out how to deal with dramatic spikes in the number of inmates who are dying from drug overdoses and alcohol poisoning. California’s prisons have every manner of scanner, camera and security system. They use body scans, visitor searches, drug-sniffing dogs and drones to patrol the place. The inmates are a captive audience and can, quite obviously, be subjected to any anti-drug program that officials can concoct. And still the problem festers.”
“This is the nature of government. It can’t stop the flow of illicit substances in a sealed and militarized building that’s under its total control. It throws hundreds of millions of dollars at the problem. It holds hearings, as officials ponder what to do.”
“Not only is the state incapable of keeping drugs out of its prisons, it is incapable of adequately maintaining its own prison infrastructure” Greenhut concludes. “If they can’t keep heroin off of death row, then maybe they should rethink their ability to control the rest of us.”