NEW YORK — New York’s Department of Corrections and Community Supervision used faulty drug tests to test prisoners, resulting in more than 1,000 people being wrongfully punished, according to a report released by the state’s inspector general.
Punishments doled out to inmates based on the test results included solitary confinement, delays in parole eligibility, loss of telephone use and other consequences.
“From January through August 2019, incarcerated individuals found to have positive drug test results at a disciplinary hearing received significant — and in some cases ultimately undeserved — punishments that jeopardized their rehabilitation and release,” the report found.
According to the inspector general’s office, DOCCS would test individuals using a test from the Microgenics Corporation. Instead of cross-referencing positive results with a second test, the DOCCS would retest the same sample with the same test, instrument and method — contrary to instructions provided by Microgenics.
The manufacturer recommended positive tests be confirmed by “a more specific alternative,” according to the report.
The inspector general’s office said Microgenics knew its test could give back positive results in response to commonly used medications, but did not disclose that information to the DOCCS.
The Officers of the Inspector General advised DOCCS to reverse and expunge all records of incarcerated people who were found guilty of drug consumption based upon a Microgenics screening test. DOCCS said it has since reversed and expunged about 2,500 records.