KATV’s Jason Pederson reported last night on the continuing drug-related deaths in Arkansas prison units — five more linked to the synthetic drug K2 — and got a rare interview with prison director Wendy Kelley.
Despite a number of measures aimed at tightening avenues for drugs to reach the prisons, deaths continue. Kelley offered to KATV her view of the pressure points, beginning with drops of contraband on prison perimeters where inmates may pick up cell phones, drugs and other items.
“I think it’s more of somebody out on the perimeter first,” says Kelley. “And then I think it is visitors second. And then I think it is staff last.”
Director Kelley says additional cameras and lighting have been added to help with perimeter security.
The ADC has also added technology that prevents drones from flying directly over the prisons.
But she says the technology that would help the most would be allowing prisons to jam cell phone signals.
“I think the prisons will be much safer,” says Kelley. “It’ll be a safer place to work. It will be a safer place to do your time. Because most of these things are coordinated through cell phones. They talk to each other on cell phones and they talk to people on the outside on cell phones.”
KATV has tallied 21 deaths of inmates who’d smoked K2.
Jacob Rosenberg reported extensively on the K2 problem for the Times.