Scanners which detect drugs on clothes and mail are up and running at 10 of the most challenging jails, Prisons Minister Rory Stewart announced today (Thursday 31 January).
The technology can detect invisible traces of drugs, including psychoactive substances, soaked into clothing and paper – a technique increasingly used by criminals attempting to smuggle drugs into prisons.
Staff have undergone training to operate the machines, and will be taught how to handle and preserve evidence. A positive result gives officers grounds to carry out further investigation, which could result in sanctions or criminal prosecution.
The Prison Service and Ministry of Justice are now considering whether the technology should be rolled out across the entire closed male prison estate.
The introduction of the scanners is the latest development in the ‘10 Prisons Project’, which aims to reduce drugs and violence, while improving standards, in the country’s most challenging jails – providing a template for the wider estate. The roll-out of x-ray body scanners at the 10 prisons is also underway.
This project is part of a much wider £70 million drive to restore stability to the prison estate.