Problems behind bars were at the center of a debate in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday as the head of the Federal Bureau of Prisons told lawmakers they’re battling their very own war on drugs in prisons across the country.
Dr. Thomas Kane, the head of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, addressed a subcommittee telling members they have been faced with a difficult challenge.
"Introduction of contraband, such as illicit narcotics, including synthetic drugs and cell phones, is a perpetual problem," Kane explained.
In Massachusetts, local police agencies have become accustomed to dealing with the growing drug problem daily.
"The drugs are getting stronger. We are having a lot more overdoses," said Bristol County Sheriff a Thomas Hodgson.
To combat the problem, Hodgson said his jail has changed some of its policies and search procedures, which included eliminating "contact visits" in an effort to prohibit visitors from passing drugs to inmates. But still, drug use continues.
"It's a constant battle," he explained. "You cut off one creative way they do it, and they come up with a new one in seemingly a matter of minutes."
The prevalent use of narcotics behind bars has also made it harder for inmates in recovery programs to be successful.
"The inmates are calling me to talk about it," said criminal defense attorney, Geoffrey Nathan.
The issue warrants more oversight, Nathan argues, inside and outside of jail.
"You need drug training, awareness, levels of treatment," he said, "That's the way society would be best served."