Over the next two years, Ontario will be installing advanced technology full-body scanners in all 26 adult provincial correctional facilities as part of its corrections transformation to improve staff and inmate safety, reduce contraband and enhance security.
Full-body security scanning systems can safely scan bodies for internal and external contraband that is not detected by current security measures, which sometimes have trouble identifying contraband that is non-metallic or hidden internally.
The decision to approve the project came after a successful six-month pilot project at the Toronto South Detention Centre. During that time, 16,427 inmates were scanned and dozens of contraband items were confiscated, helping to reduce incidents involving weapons and improving overall institutional safety and security. These scanning units have also been recommended in several Coroner’s inquests and are highly supported by correctional officers, provincial health and safety committees and other correctional staff.
“Moving forward with the installation of full-body scanners in all of Ontario’s adult correctional facilities will further improve staff and inmate safety, reduce contraband and build safer communities for everyone,” said Yasir Naqvi, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, in a press release. “I am proud to have worked closely with our correctional officers on this important safety improvement and look forward to continuing to transform Ontario’s correctional system by increasing access to rehabilitation programs, enhancing mental health supports and improving community-based reintegration partnerships.”
Ontario is the first province in Canada to install full-body scanners in all adult correctional facilities. The purchase of the scanners was completed through a competitive procurement process to ensure value for taxpayer dollars. The complete cost of the scanners, including the cost of maintenance over the next 10 years, is $9.5 million.
The first 11 scanners are due to be installed by the end of March 2017, with scanners installed in all ministry adult correctional institutions within two years.