Remember last year when everyone was losing their shit over evil profiteering prisons banning print books or forcing inmates to only buy from approved sources?
I pointed out at the time that the prisons had banned print books as a way to stop drug smuggling via chemicals sprayed on the paper. Now it would appear the issue is not unique to the US.
The BBC reports that a drug was smuggled into Nottingham prison embedded in the pages of a copy of Harry Potter:
A Harry Potter book sprayed with drugs was smuggled into one of the UK’s most “challenging” prisons, where inmates are suspected to have smoked the pages.
A copy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire found in an HMP Nottingham cell tested positive for a psychoactive substance similar to Spice.
The “Spice-like substance” found on samples from the book was detected by a new drug-testing machine, installed as part of a £1.4m investment to refurbish HMP Nottingham and bolster security.
It is thought the drugs had been sprayed on to the paper before it entered the prison.
Four hundred pages were missing, which staff suspected had been torn into strips and smoked.
That is exactly why prisons in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and other states either banned print books donations or restricted inmates to only receiving books from approved sources last year. Some states such as New York did not give a specific reason for the new restrictions, but Maryland made it clear why they had restricted access to books.
Maryland restricted inmates to only ordering from two approved retailers, explaining that the new policy is intended to reduce drug smuggling into state-run facilities, including through the pages of books. Prison reform advocates objected to the new rule, calling it unconstitutiona. “At this time, there is no intent to change the department’s decision, which ensures inmates have access to books in a safe manner,” spokesman Gerard Shields said in a written statement. “Drugs smuggled into our institutions fuel prison violence, and the safety of our officers, staff and those in our custody remains paramount.”
One of the drugs found in smuggled books was Suboxone, an FDA-approved medication that helps opiate addicts manage withdrawal symptoms. This drug comes in thin strips that could be inserted between pages of a book.