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County Jails Deploy Airport Whole-Body Scanners

County Jails Deploy Airport Whole-Body Scanners
Category: News (English)
Posted: 04-29-2011 03:03:31
Views: 4552
Comments: 0 [Post]

County Jails Deploy Airport Whole-Body Scanners to Detect Hidden Weapons or Contraband

 Do you feel like a prisoner at the airport? County Jails are adding Airport quality Full-body scanners to detect contraband material.  New forward scatter transmission scanners are deployed in UK airports, US airports, and now jails put a new meaning to transparency.

Airport Quality Full-body scanners being used in local jails in the US can spot minute amounts of contraband material.

 Digital Strip searches conducted at airport are now being expanded to sports venues, public buildings, politcal events, jails and correctional facilities.  

Airport strip equipment is revolutionizing the traditional jail “strip” search using 21st-century tools. previously prisoners remove all of their clothing and officers of the same sex verify that the person isn’t smuggling weapons or other types of contraband. The 21st-century search, however, uses new whole full-body scanning technology that detects contraband hidden inside and on an offender’s body in about seven seconds — while requiring that they remove only their shoes just like the airports.

Full-body scanners have been in use for years by airports and corrections departments to search for metal concealed on individuals, but forward scatter technology enhances body scans by identifying metallic and organic materials inside and outIn March, the Collier County, Fla., Sheriff’s Office began using a new scanner to prevent offenders from smuggling drugs into the jail. “People are putting prescription narcotics in their body cavities, and it’s a very difficult thing to locate with just a traditional strip search,” said Capt. Beth Richards.  In Florida, body cavity searches require a court order due to 4th amendment limitations.

The Sheriff’s Office was interested when it learned about an airport tool that automatically detects hidden drugs and weapons. The RadPro SecurPass, manufactured by Canon U.S.A. Inc., uses forward scatter transmission imaging to conduct a virtual body scan. The inmate stands on an automated platform that moves him or her through the machine like the system installed in Cook County, Illinois Jails and UK Newcastle airport in as reported by the BBC 14 Dec 2008[1].  Shown below, note the hands of the reporter.

BBC-New Castle Airport (BBC-15Dec08)

 A similar  forward-scatter/ transmission system made by American Science and Engineering, Inc., of Billerica, MA  SmartCheck HT systems are being deployed in US airports.  They are also the manufacture of the Mobile Z-backscatter x-ray vans used to search cars. 

x-ray van

The x-ray beam passes through the inmate’s body, the system detects x-rays exiting the body to construct the image. Officers operating the system study the rendering of the inmate to see if anything looks out of place, Kidney stones come to mind.

“It’s like you’re looking at an X-ray,” Richards said. “You’re looking straight through their body, so if there’s something there that normally wouldn’t be in your body, that God didn’t give you, it jumps out at you.”  Richards said the system shows officers something as minute as a filling in someone’s tooth. If an officer sees something that looks suspicious, the inmate is strip-searched to determine what the object is. 

A New Tool? Airport Scanners Health Screening Tool?

The level of detail is very high, perhaps this could be used for mass screening of TB (tuberculosis).   TSA Tuberculosis Screening Agency, a low cost way to screen millions perhaps some public benefit?  Kidney stones, broken bones, gravel in your knee all could be detected for a security fee?

Transmission-forwardscatter Scanner Dose

Current backscatter dose is about 1/50-1/20th of a chest x-ray, with most of the radiation delivered to skin, breast, testicles.  New "Total Recal" Transmission-forwardscatter systems being depolyed will deliver a huge dose perhaps 100 milliseverts or more approximately 1-3 chest x-rays.  This is very dangerous to expecting mothers and babies.

The Look Through Scanners Speed the Strip Search

About 30 people are booked into the Collier County jail every day, but not every person is scanned. Florida state statute says that a person must meet certain criteria to be strip searched, and the machine is considered a virtual strip search. For example, people arrested for a traffic, regulatory or misdemeanor offense won’t be strip searched unless the incident involved a weapon, controlled substance or a judge says the person can’t be released on recognizance or bond.

Increased Efficiency Clarity Body Transparency

Scanning takes about seven seconds, compared to a standard strip search that takes about 15 minutes. “Physically you can only strip search a limited amount of inmates coming through on a daily basis because of the time it takes and the intrusive nature of a strip search,” Richards said, “but the scanner is not intrusive; you don’t have to disrobe.”  Collier County jail went from performing an average of 10 strip searches per day to 30 or 40 per day with the scanner.  Although the system scans a person’s entire body inside and out, it doesn’t show as much soft tissue detail as the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) scanners. So inmates’ privacy is protected because facial features aren’t shown.  TSA is testing new software to obscure the scanner images, to calm public privacy concerns.  

Jails and Airports Upgrade to More Powerful Search Equipment

Cook County Jail is upgraded from the L-3 mm-wave/Terahertz machines to four of the more powerful x-ray RadPro SecurPass machines costing $940,500. [forward scatter]  “It gives us a much better analysis of body cavities with much more clarity than we were able to get with the L-3s,” said Sheriff Thomas J. Dart.

The L-3 mm-wave/Terahertz machines almost eliminated any metal entering the jail.  According to Dart. “But this machine takes it to the next level where it’s difficult to imagine anything getting in,” he said.  The Cook County Two scanners are located in the receiving area and scan everyone entering the jail, while the two maximum-security divisions each have a scanner to search inmates as they migrate internally.  In a 2010 GAO report TSA announced plans to make scanning primary or mandatory. Currently about half of the airport scanners are active mm-wave/Terahertz units the rest x-ray.  TSA/DHS are in the process of deploying 1000 units by 2011 and 1800 more by 2014. 

A New Tool Simple to Use 20 min of Training!

Before operating the machine, officers in Cook and Collier counties completed instructional and field training. Field training allows officers to get accustomed to the technology, and Richards said it takes about 20 minutes to learn how to run the machine.  Richards said one section of Collier County’s training discusses the radiation part of the imaging and how it works. Questions have been raised about the amount of radiation inmates are exposed to, she said, but that it is a very small quantity — the radiation in one chest X-ray is equal to being scanned about 400 times in the SecurPass, according to the county’s website.  This dose would appear to be low considering the image quality and the full body is exposed. 

Although the Sheriff’s Office has benefited from the scanner because it’s helping to create a safer environment, Richards said people must remember that it’s still just a tool. “It doesn’t necessarily replace a pat-down or a strip search, but it definitely increases your quality of search and the quantity of searches you can do in a day."

We are very concerned that public health dignity have been cast aside for "security".


Original story http://www.govtech.com/public-safety/County-Jails-Deploy-Whole-Body-Scanners.html

Photo courtesy Photo courtesy of Collier County, Fla., Sheriff's Office.

[1] BBC Look North - Newcastle Airport Installs Full Body Scanners 15th Dec 08


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