by Pam Zubeck
A new screening device that went "live" on Monday will prevent inmates from sneaking just about anything into the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center.
In fact, the county is the first detention facility in Colorado to use the Digital Security Screening System, something we told you about back in December. Today, the Sheriff's Office hosted a gathering to show off the new equipment to reporters.
The $200,000 machine will make the jail safer for jailers and inmates, officials say. Here's the press release:
Inmates booked into the El Paso County jail will now receive a body scan as part of the admission process. The Digital Security Screening System which provides both internal and external images will scan individuals for all types of contraband ranging from weapons to drugs that may be concealed underneath clothing, in body cavities or ingested. Over the years there have been many incidents where inmates have smuggled illicit and prescription drugs in body cavities as well as ingested them resulting in serious health risks and in two cases, overdoses resulting in death. Within the past two weeks, one inmate swallowed at least three balls of methamphetamine requiring immediate medical intervention. The SecurPass Full Body Scan will eliminate the need for strip searches while providing more privacy for the inmate and increased safety and security for both inmates and detention personnel.
The El Paso County jail is the first detention facility in Colorado to use this technology which has been approved and registered by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The Department cited that the minor dose of radiation received per scan is a fraction of the daily exposure received from ambient background radiation sources. The Department also stated they understood the risk and limitations involved with a physical search of inmates for contraband and further stated that it was appropriate that this detection method is used in order to provide a more thorough search.
The screening system was installed in the Pre-Admit area of the Intake and Release section at CJC and went live on Monday, February 27, 2012. Personnel received classroom and applied training prior to use.