Let’s talk about… X-ray body scanners

What are they?

These new ‘airport style’ x ray scanners have been described as a total game changer in the world of prison security. The new tech will be able to show instant internal images and will be able to reveal concealed weapons, mobile phones and drugs.

They have already been installed in 10 prisons around the country, in late 2018, and these prisons have already seen a dramatic drop in violence and the number of failed drugs test.

Why are they there?

Back in December, the independent monitoring board at HMP Bedford said that the prison, which has an ‘unacceptably high’ level of violence, suffered from the lack of a body scanner.

Last June, Peter Clarke, chief inspector of prisons, said the failure of officials at troubled HMP Birmingham to secure funding for a scanner was “inexplicable”.

It has been said that the state of the UK prisons has got so bad, due to a level of neglect by the government, but Prisons and Probation Minister, Lucy Frazer MP, has said that the project is part of a huge £2.75 billion to ‘transform our prisons’
“New technology is a vital part of our efforts to stop those determined to wreak havoc in our jails,” she said.
“These scanners will help to stem the flow of contraband into jails and allow officers to focus on rehabilitation.”
The current system of checking everyone manually observing scanners is not as effective, clearly, as there is still a major issue in many prisons, but also it is incredibly time consuming. The scanners will mean that less time will need to be spent on the basic security, but more time can be spent on staff building relationships and working more with prisoners on a one to one basis.

Where are they going?

There are 16 prisons in total that are going to benefit from the scheme, these prisons are categorised as some of the most challenging prisons in the uk.

The list of prisons which this new tech will be installed in are:

Birmingham
Wandsworth
Liverpool
Bedford
Exeter
Cardiff
Durham
Preston
Hewell
Lincoln
Norwich
Chelmsford
Winchester
Elmley
Pentonville
Bristol.

The prisons which already have the scanners were part of the successful ’10 prisons project’, the prisons are:
Hull
Humber
Isis
Leeds
Lindholme
Moorland
Welstun
Nottingham
Ranby
Wormwood Scrubs

Who is paying for them?

The government. They have pledged to spend £100 million on improving prison security, and this is costing £28 million so far. But if the results are good enough, then potentially they will get put elsewhere.

When will they be in?

The instillations will begin in the spring, and all scanners, in all 16 prisons, will be in and up and running by the summer.

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2020-01-30T00:01:20+00:00
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