Probe Finds Prisons Used Faulty Drug Tests

Inmates punished with solitary confinement

The New York State Offices of the Inspector General reported this week that more than 1,600 inmates were punished with solitary confinement, delayed parole, longer sentences and lost visitation as the result of faulty drug tests in 2019. 

The investigation followed a series of lawsuits filed by advocates on behalf of inmates at Fishkill Correctional Facility in Beacon and other prisons.

When inmates screened with a test made by Microgenics Corp. were found positive for the opioid buprenorphine, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision should have confirmed the results with an alternative test, Inspector General Lucy Lang said on Tuesday (Jan. 4). The department also failed to investigate a spike in positive results from the test, she said. 

To resolve the findings, the agency expunged 2,500 disciplinary records, reinstated lost privileges and eliminated the use of solitary confinement as a punishment for a failed drug test. The department also stopped using the Microgenics test. 

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