PA – Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary John
Wetzel announced the immediate lockdown of all state correctional institutions
because of reports of multiple staff members sickened by unknown substances
over the past few weeks.
“The safety and security of our
employees is my number one concern,” Secretary Wetzel said. “Our state prisons,
especially those in the western part of the state, have experienced recent
incidents in which employees have been sickened and we need to get to the
bottom of this issue now.”
Wetzel announced the following steps,
effective immediately and indefinitely:
- All DOC state prisons are
- All DOC mailrooms are closed to
non-legal mail until further notice.
- Use of personal protective
equipment, especially gloves, is MANDATORY for ALL employees.
- Training on situational
awareness will be held immediately in all institutions.
- All visits are suspended for
the length of the lock down.
Staff also are being advised to use
extra caution when parole violators and new commits are received into the
prison system is not alone in its battle against illegal substances and
employee/inmate sickness. It was reported just today that 20 correction
officers and inmates at Ross Correctional Institution (Ohio) experienced
possible opioid overdose symptoms as well.
will do whatever it takes to ensure the safety of our staff,” Wetzel said. “The
steps taken today, in addition to those announced last week, demonstrate the Wolf Administration’s
commitment to the safety and security of all commonwealth employees.
state’s Opioid Command Center is giving complete support to this action. And
Corrections thanks all state agencies for their support, especially the
Pennsylvania Department of Health, for providing additional gloves and personal
MEDIA CONTACT: Susan McNaughton, 717-728-4025; Amy Worden,