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Investigation at the Monroe County Jail after 4 inmates suffer medical problems

David Andreatta / CITY Newspaper
The Monroe County Jail currently charges more for inmates to make a phone call than almost anywhere in the state.

Monroe County Sheriff’s officials are investigating what they are describing as an unknown medical condition that affected four inmates at the county jail on Wednesday afternoon.

Authorities say that deputies responded to the third floor of the jail for a report of two inmates who were incoherent and lethargic, and then noticed two more inmates on the same floor with similar symptoms.

While running in response to the emergency, one deputy fell and suffered a head injury, becoming unconscious. Altogether, four inmates and the deputy were taken to area hospitals with non-life threatening conditions.

The county jail was placed into lockdown, and a search of the jail is underway. Officials say the preliminary investigation leads them to believe a substance may have gotten into the jail through a piece of mail. They say that can occur through a synthetic liquid that is absorbed by paper, and then dries, leaving little to no trace.

The sheriff’s department says it does have several screening procedures for each piece of mail. They also note that they are obligated by law to provide mail to inmates and they are working with the New York State Commission of Correction to identify what adjustments can be made to mail procedures.

Authorities are still trying to determine the source of whatever made the inmates sick.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.