Southampton, PA asked in Criminal Law for Pennsylvania

Q: A family member is in Bucks County Corrections on a parole violation for drugs. He was to be released and in the last

Houra failed a urine test. He was put into the "hole" We only found this out from an anonymous call. How do we get information about what he tested positive for, how long he will be there? What are our rights to information?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Brian Fishman
Brian Fishman
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: I'm sorry to hear about your family member's situation. Prisons are very private places and it's sometimes even difficult for attorneys to get information from them. However, I would suggest that you contact a criminal defense attorney to first reach out to his counselor at the prison to find out as much information as possible. After that, I'd have the attorney file a parole petition with the judge that is supervising your family member. The prison or the District Attorney's Office will, at that point, want to tell the court what it is he tested positive for because the DA will likely be seeking additional jail time for the positive urine test. At that point, since your family member was in jail for a drug charge and then had a positive urine test, his attorney may try to suggest that prison is not the best place for your family member. Rather, he needs help and should be referred to an in-patient treatment facility. That way, you can get your family member the help it sounds like he needs and get him out of jail and hopefully back on the right track.

A judge is not going to be happy that he tested positive while incarcerated. Therefore, the judge is unlikely to just let him go. However, recommending an in-patient treatment facility as an alternative to jail may be the best solution for all parties. You don't want the judge to just seek punishment and send your family member upstate because of a positive drug test. One other issue you need to be aware of is if what he tested positive for was a controlled substance, like marijuana, the DA's Office may try to charge him with a new criminal offense of possession of contraband since you obviously can not have marijuana in a prison. If convicted of being in possession of contraband on prison grounds, your family member is facing an automatic mandatory minimum two year state prison sentence. In addition, the prison may be investigating who recently visited him to determine if they believe a visitor brought the controlled substance into the prison and delivered it to your family member.

I recently wrote an article about contraband in prison on my blog which you can read at the below link. I hope this helps answer your question. If you need additional assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Brian M. Fishman

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