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For Immediate Release

January 10, 2017

Contact: Jeff Lyons
Public Information Officer
Phone: 603-271-5602

Department of Corrections Investigating Introduction of Drugs Into its Facilities
May Be Linked to 4 Weekend Overdoses


            (Concord, NH) New Hampshire Department of Corrections Commissioner William L. Wrenn announced that an investigation is underway into four incidents involving illicit drugs.

            During the weekend of January 6, 2017, three inmates were discovered to be unresponsive at the New Hampshire State Prison for Men in Concord and one was found deceased at the Calumet Transitional Housing Unit in Manchester. 

            At approximately 9:25 pm on Friday, January 6, Michael Robert Cullen, 48, formerly of Rochester, New Hampshire, was found unresponsive on the floor inside the Calumet Transitional Housing Unit. Correctional staff provided emergency first aid to the resident until the Manchester Fire Department arrived and continued until they determined that the inmate was deceased.  The Chief Medical Examiner’s Officer responded and is investigating the cause of death.

            At the New Hampshire State Prison for Men in Concord, Correctional staff discovered three unresponsive inmates in the residential areas during the course of the weekend.  Correctional staff administered NARCAN in two instances and the inmates survived the incidents.  The names of these inmates will not be released due to state and federal medical privacy regulations.

Due to the seriousness and life threatening nature of these incidents, Warden Michael A. Zenk ordered inmate visitations to be cancelled at the Concord facility for January 10, 11, 12, 2017.  However, attorney-client visitations will be permitted on Thursday, January 12, 2017.

            “This action is being taken to protect the safety of the inmate population until the Department of Corrections Investigations Bureau can identify the type and source of the drugs used by the inmates as well as the point of entry for the drugs,” Commissioner Wrenn stated.

            “We are very concerned about drugs inside of our facilities and appropriate steps will be taken at the conclusion of the investigation to discourage the introduction of contraband in the future,” Commissioner Wrenn added.

The Investigations Bureau is conducting a thorough investigation of these incidents at both facilities using all of the Department’s resources including the new K-9 Team to inspect all areas of the Concord prison. 

            Warden Zenk will make a determination on Friday, January 13, 2017 on the status of reopening the visiting room.

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