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PADOC: major search of the state prison at Woods Run
By Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, pittsburghlive.com
Published: 05/12/2011

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections began a major search of the state prison at Woods Run on Wednesday in an attempt to clear the facility of contraband as a new administrative team assumes control, a department official said. "This search is mainly because we have a change in administration, and we want to assure them that they have a clean facility in which they can start off their administration," department spokeswoman Susan McNaughton said. She declined to say whether the search has anything to do with last week's removal of the prison superintendent, two deputy superintendents and a major of the guard amid allegations that guards had sexually abused inmates. Eight guards have been suspended since January and Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. has begun a grand jury probe of the allegations. Emergency response teams from at least five other prisons and prison K-9 teams were mobilized for the search, which is expected to last a couple of days. During that time, inmates will be locked in their cells, and inmate visiting hours will be suspended. Teams were searching the entire facility, including housing areas, cells, common areas, kitchens, yards, the library, the education building and the hospital. Canine handlers wearing dark corrections shirts, and khaki pants could be seen Wednesday walking their animals along Doerr Street. McNaughton said the search was proceeding smoothly, but she had not received word of any results. "I think they're probably finding some nuisance contraband, excess property (prisoners) might have in their cells that they shouldn't have," she said. Prison officials regularly conduct searches of cell block areas, McNaughton said. Entire facilities are typically searched every several years. Woods Run was last searched in 2007, when it reopened.

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