The x-ray body scanners, rolled out across the closed male estate in England and Wales, is part of the government’s £100 million package to tackle violence and boost security in prisons.
The 74 scanners, developed specifically for the Prison Service, allow staff to instantly identify whether prisoners are smuggling illegal contraband items within their bodies. The scanners have picked up Spice, morphine tablets, mobile phones, SIM cards, phone chargers and tobacco. These illegal items would have been destined for the prison wings, fuelling the illicit economy that drives debt and associated violence.
At HMP Garth a prisoner was found to be in possession of an iPhone and charging lead during a body search. The scanner revealed a large package in his bowel, later discovered to be full of tobacco, and HMP Berwyn found banned items on the same day the scanner was installed - showing the impact of these machines.
"Our new scanners help us keep out dangerous and illegal items from prison that means our staff can create a better environment to get offenders off drugs and into work – which is the key to reducing reoffending," said Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary Dominic Raab.
The cutting-edge technology has been installed at 73 sites meaning 100% of the closed male estate have the X-ray scanners, ensuring that there are no vulnerable points.
James is the Editor of Government Transformation magazine, and has been covering digital government and public sector reform for 20 years. He also oversees the development of the UK's biggest network of public sector transformation conferences.