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Pennsylvania prisons end lockdown, resume visits after dozens sickened

Written by The Associated Press | Sep 10, 2018 10:48 AM
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This June 1, 2018, file photo, shows a housing unit in the west section of the State Correctional Institution at Phoenix in Collegeville, Pa. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma, File)

(Harrisburg) -- Pennsylvania's state prisons are resuming normal visits and all inmates are no longer confined to their cells, 12 days after officials imposed the temporary rules while they addressed a spate of illnesses among guards and prisoners linked to synthetic drugs.

The Corrections Department said Monday toxicology tests confirmed the presence of synthetic cannabinoids in "multiple" employees and that inmate overdoses have been caused by those drugs and other illegal substances.

The agency says more than 50 of its employees and 33 inmates have reported feeling sick and were treated at hospitals over three months ending in August.

The prison system is changing how it handles incoming inmate mail and is imposing new rules on visits.

It's also bolstering its ability to detect drones and expanding the use of scanners.

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