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Pima County Jail using new tech to keep contraband out - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Pima County Jail using new tech to keep contraband out

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The Pima County Sheriff’s Department is using new technology to keep contraband out the hands of jail inmates.

Inmates will now have to go through a state-of-the-art full body scanner during intake.

”It detects contraband that inmates may hide inside a body cavity, trying to smuggle contraband items into our facility,” said Captain Darin Stephens.

The machine provides a photo image similar to an x-ray, and the amount of exposure from one scan is equivalent to about a quarter of the amount one would get with a routine dental x-ray.

According to Capt. Stephens, the smuggling of drugs and weapons into the jail is a common issue. Now, the new scanner can provide an easier, faster and less invasive way to detect contraband before it can get into the facility.

“A doctor would usually need to get involved to determine if something was in a body cavity,” explained Captain Stephens. “This [scanner] allows us to a conduct a seven second scan and detect if something is hidden.”

The machine costs around $112,000. It was paid for through inmate welfare and risk management funds. But Capt. Stephens believes what the device can provide is priceless.

“It’s another layer to our security,” he said. “And if we can prevent one person from overdosing on drugs through detection by this machine, then it's paid for itself.”

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