Lockdown Lifted
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Department of Corrections officials announced Monday that the statewide lockdown has been lifted. The lockdown had been in place at all state prisons since Aug. 29 after numerous employees and inmates reported falling ill after being expose to synthetic drugs. Between May 31 and Sept. 1, DOC officials said 50 staff members and 33 inmates were taken to the hospital for being exposed. "This has been a difficult time for staff who became ill by encountering suspected synthetic drugs while simply performing their jobs," said Corrections Secretary John Wetzel. "It also has been a challenging time for all employees as they were called upon to perform various lockdown-related duties. I am proud of our staff and how they all pulled together as a team. The safety of our staff is paramount to the running of this prison system, so we took this time to calm the system and to train staff so they can remain safe while performing their jobs." Prior to the lockdown, DOC officials unveiled to safety measures that they were putting in place. On Sept. 5, Wetzel and Gov. Tom Wolf unveiled further safety measures as part of its reform. Wetzel said he will not hesitate to return to the statewide lockdown if incidents spark back up.