Drugs are being smuggled into Maine jails, with deadly results

The most recent death was Nicole Turner, who state police say died of a suspected overdose at...
The most recent death was Nicole Turner, who state police say died of a suspected overdose at York County Jail.(WMTW)
Published: Jul. 8, 2022 at 8:27 AM EDT
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ALFRED, Maine (WMTW) — Three inmates have been found dead in Maine jails in the past month.

William Tucker died of suspected suicide, and a 65-year-old man was found unresponsive at Cumberland County Jail.

The most recent death was Nicole Turner, who state police say died of a suspected overdose at York County Jail.

The Assistant Director of the Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition, Jan Collins, claims drugs are being smuggled into Maine jails by people who are recently booked and sometimes by staff.

Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce released a statement saying:

“While there have been few isolated instances in which Corrections Officers have introduced contraband into a facility, it is far from commonplace. Corrections Officers undergo a rigorous background investigation, in York County a polygraph examination and are supervised closely. The vast majority of Corrections Officers are honest hard-working individuals and a few individuals who succumbed to corruption should not be held as the standard. New arrivals sometimes attempt to smuggle drugs into the facility. Many facilities have body scanners to find contraband being concealed. Remember, corrections officials may only conduct a strip search if the arrestee fits certain criteria.”

“Arrestee contraband is a continual problem. That is why we have a body scanner, which picks up most of what inmates are trying to get in to the jail. But the staff are also vigilant in finding contraband that may be missed by the body scanner. Thankfully, corrections officers bringing in contraband to facilities, is rare statewide. It does occur, but is rare. Employees bringing contraband into the jail is taken very seriously. If we find an employee bringing in contraband, we will do a criminal investigation and often charge the employee criminally, if appropriate.”

York County Sheriff William L. King also released a statement saying,

By law, a body cavity search requires a warrant and written consent.

When it comes to Nicole Turner’s suspected overdose, King said they are still waiting on an autopsy and toxicology report to confirm her cause of death.

It could take more than six weeks for that to be completed.

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