Officials at the Nassau County jail on Long Island seized drugs or drug paraphernalia from inmates 237 times over a period of less than four years, a Newsday analysis of state records found.
The drugs confiscated from inmates at the 1,540-bed jail between 2016 and the summer or 2019 included marijuana, prescription pills, heroin, cocaine and other banned substances.
Newsday obtained the reports on contraband seizures from the New York State Commission of Correction through a Freedom of Information Law request.
Steve Martin, a lawyer who is a court-appointed monitor of New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex, said the data on drug seizures are fairly typical for a correctional facility of the Nassau jail’s size and location.
“It’s just a part of doing business with locked-up people,” Martin said. “It is a very significant, ever-present problem because it’s related oftentimes to violence.”
But Brian Sullivan, president of the Nassau County Correction Officers Benevolent Association, said facility-wide searches for drugs aren’t done often enough at the jail in East Meadow.
“I think there’s a very serious drug contraband problem in this jail and that more measures need to be taken to root it out,” Sullivan told the newspaper.
Sheriff James Dzurenda, whose department operates the jail, said in a statement that department members “are constantly on the alert to detect, identify and prevent the introduction of contraband into the facility at all times.”