Drug lab scandal releases 195 inmates

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) — State officials say 195 people have been released from Massachusetts jails because of a major drug lab scandal that has compromised tens of thousands of criminal cases.  Many of the former inmates will be supervised as their cases are put on hold. 

“How can the public have confidence in the doings of the other 17 drug labs and in the Department of Public Health in general?” asked Rep. David Linsky (D-Natick).  House lawmakers conducted a hearing Wednesday at the State House to find out  why the Hinton state drug lab in Boston was allowed to operate in spite of serious lapses in oversight, outdated operating procedures, no independent accreditation, and a lack of supervision over Annie Dookhan – A chemist who is accused of mishandling about 60,000 drug samples, compromising more than 30,000 criminal cases.

“As a result of these failures, the Hinton lab director, division director and Annie Dookhan’s former direct supervisor are no longer in their jobs,” said Executive Office of Health and Human Services Secretary JudyAnn Bigby.

The drug lab was shut down, contributing to a backlog of drug samples from more than 10,000 criminal cases in need of testing. State officials are requesting $3.4 million dollars to meet the demand for testing.

“These funds would allow the lab to hire much needed personnel in order to address the backlog, as well as to address a number of other shortfalls relative to equipment needs,” said Executive Office of Public Safety and Security Secretary Mary Elizabeth Heffernan.

Dookhan listed on her resume that she once worked at an Amherst lab. State officials clarified that there’s no record that Dookhan ever worked out of the state-owned lab in Amherst. 

Copyright 2014 WWLP TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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