Detecting Contraband: Current and Emerging Technologies and Limitations   [open pdf - 47KB]

"A plastic bottle of cough syrup, a bundle of bills outside a wallet, a pornographic magazine -- all of these items are contraband in a correctional facility. None, of course, would be caught by a metal detector. Today, detection devices have become more advanced. Recent models can detect many objects located on, and in some cases even within, a person's body. In a correctional facility, checks for contraband typically occur at a perimeter gate house, the lobby or other entrances in an institution. Generally, all staff, inmates, contractors and visitors must move through these checkpoints before they are allowed entrance. Using the older radio frequency (RF) metal detectors to screen for contraband can be a tedious process. For instance, if a correctional officer sets off the metal detector, the officer must remove items such as belts, restraining devices (like handcuffs), shoes with metal toes, and any other metal objects the officer may be wearing. If the alarm continues to trigger, the officer must wait in a separate line and be searched with a handheld device. This kind of process is inefficient and can cause staff to feel like they are not trusted. Although still cost-prohibitive for many agencies, an array of new devices that use alternative technological approaches are becoming available. These devices may detect a broader spectrum of contraband with greater ease and efficiency."

American Correctional Association
Retrieved From:
National Criminal Justice Reference Service: https://ncjrs.gov
Media Type:
October 2010 Corrections Today
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