Okla. prisons employ technology to find, confiscate contraband

The Corrections Department plans to provide all state prisons with the new technology by next month


By Graham Lee Brewer
The Oklahoman

HOMINY — New technology at a local prison is helping correctional workers find contraband, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections reported. 

Last week, staff at the Dick Conner Correctional Center found nearly two dozen items including cellphones and weapons, drugs and drug paraphernalia, tobacco and tools that inmates were trying to hide on their persons, according to a news release. 

Known as Cellsense towers, the 7-foot portable devices allow correctional staff members to perform a full body scan in less than 60 seconds. Staff at the medium-security prison also are using hand-held deep-tissue scanners that detect items not found during a pat-down search. 

“The towers are more effective than a metal detector you would see at an airport," said Special Assistant Lance Hetmer. “It will even alert to a cellphone or weapon hidden inside an offender. The new technologies we are able to implement while doing a shakedown is going a long way to curtail our contraband problem within state facilities.”

The Corrections Department plans to provide all state prisons with the new technology by next month. 

“Inmates who have access to a phone can continue to run their criminal enterprises on the street or intimidate a victim," said Joe Allbaugh, the Corrections Department's interim director. 

"Moving forward these search techniques will continue to ensure the safety and security of the facilities and citizens of Oklahoma.”

Copyright 2016 The Oklahoman

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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