4 inmates overdose at Conn. corrections center

Correction officials and state police are now working to determine how the contraband got into the jail

David Owens
The Hartford Courant

HARTFORD, Conn. — Four inmates at the Hartford Correctional Center overdosed on the synthetic opioid fentanyl Thursday night and Friday morning, authorities said.

Correction officials and state police are now working to determine how the contraband got into the jail, which is on Weston Street in Hartford’s North Meadows.

Three of the inmates have returned to the jail after treatment at local hospitals.

One of the inmates was in cardiac arrest when Hartford firefighters and American Medical Response paramedics and emergency medical technicians arrived at the jail.

The first call was at 9:47 p.m. and involved the inmate who was in cardiac arrest, Hartford Fire Department Deputy Chief Alvaro Cucuta said Friday. Department of Correction staff were administering CPR and working to save the inmate, Cucuta said.

CPR continued on the ambulance ride to St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, said Chris Chaplin, a regional manager for AMR. And when the ambulance crew turned the patient over to St. Francis staff, the life-saving measures continued, he said.

Department of Correction spokesman Andrius Banevicius said he had no further information about the inmate who was in cardiac arrest.

The two others who showed signs of an overdose were alert and oriented when the fire department and AMR arrived to treat them, Cucuta said.

Correction staff had administered the opioid overdose reversal drug Narcan to the three inmates.

The fourth inmate who required treatment had just been returned to the jail from parole. During the intake process, medical staff determined he had symptoms of an overdose and he was taken to the hospital, Banevicius said.

The Hartford Correctional Center is a high-security jail that primarily houses prisoners who are awaiting trial.

Contraband inside state prisons is a constant issue for prison staff. It makes its way into correctional institutions in a variety of ways, such as being thrown over walls or being smuggled in by prisoners, prison employees and visitors.

Since new prisoners arrive at the Hartford Correctional Center every day, smuggling by arriving inmates is a challenge for correction staff.

Contraband consists of anything prisoners are not issued or that is not available in a jail’s commissary, such as drugs, cellphones, over-the-counter medications, weapons and handcuff keys. Two years ago a Danbury man was indicted for trying to smuggle an electric beard trimmer into the federal prison in Danbury.


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