Manitoba introduces body scanners to prevent drugs, weapons at jails

The new body scanner at the Winnipeg Remand Centre. Diana Foxall / Global News

Inmates entering certain correctional facilities in Manitoba will now be subject to a body scan as part of a new security feature.

The province announced Thursday it will be installing a scanner at the Winnipeg Remand Centre, as well as facilities in both Brandon and the Pas.

“Illicit drugs and other contraband present a significant risk to inmates and staff,” said justice minister Cliff Cullen.

“This technology will help keep drugs and other contraband out of our jails while acting as a deterrent for those who would smuggle dangerous substances into our facilities.”

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The initiative is expected to have a better success rate than the current “dry cell” method, which involves holding inmates suspected of having ingested contraband in cells with no plumbing. The dry cell method, the province said, has a less than 10 per cent rate of recovered contraband, while costing more than $450,000 and 11,000 staff hours last year.

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Cullen said the scanners have a price tag of almost $750,000, which is expected to be recouped over the first three years of their use due to lower staff hours required for the technology.

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