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Local correctional and holding centers implement “game-changing” technology

Updated: May. 9, 2021 at 11:26 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Two new body scanners have been put into use in Wood County’s Parkersburg Correctional Center and its holding center this year.

Officials are calling the technology “game-changing.”

It’s a scanner that uses x-ray technology capable of seeing contraband hidden inside of the body.

The Bureau of Community Corrections’ Chief of Operations, Patrick Mirandy, said, “This is a game changer keeping people alive more than anything because it makes for a much safer facility...,”

The scanner can now catch what traditional detection systems like metal detectors, pat-downs, and even canines can’t.

“This allows us to make sure that anybody we’re bringing into our facility is not bringing any type of drugs or contraband, which could be weapons - could be anything,” Mirandy said.

This body scanner has been used in the US for about seven years, according to DCR Director of Security Steve Caudill. He calls its impact “immeasurable.”

“I mean, there’s no doubt in my mind that this technology you know saved not only inmate’s lives but it’s protection for our staff as well,” he said.

Less drugs in correctional facilities means less chances of overdoses and less staff have to deal with inmates under the influence.

While the black market of drugs in correctional-type facilities may be enticing, the hope is that knowledge of this technology deters people from bringing anything in the first place.

Mirandy said, “Depending on where you’re at in certain jails - West Virginia’s primarily a smoke-free environment - even tobacco would get you roughly $200 a pack.”

Mirandy said even one instance of drugs getting into a facility is significant due to the heavy consequences. For instance, if inmates swallow drugs, the bags could burst inside of them, causing a medical emergency.

Law enforcement has to stay on its toes with people who smuggle drugs into correctional-type facilities.

Caudill said, “Some of the creativity that people come up with you know to smuggle drugs and contraband in - it’s kind of mind-blowing. It’s just - when you think you’ve seen everything, something else will happen and you’re like well I didn’t think they could do that but they do.”

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