The Clarion County jail on Thursday took a step to better prevent the flow of contraband into the Shippenville facility.
Warden Jeff Hornberger provided the county’s jail inspection board with a proposal for an inmate body scanner that would be used on inmates returning to the jail or those who were on a work detail within the jail.
Visitors to the jail, though, are not subject to a body scan.
The body scanner that Hornberger is proposing is one that he said is similar to scanners used by airport security.
He said the dimensions of it are 3 feet wide by 6 feet long, and that it would fit in the jail’s intake area.
Hornberger said the jail staff received a demonstration by the manufacturer, and he wants to bring it before the board for consideration.
“I know we can’t move on this because it is costly,” Hornberger said. “But in the long term, it would be beneficial to the jail because we have a lot of contraband that has come into the jail through new inmates. It would also help local law enforcement agencies and the probation department.”
“We all know that we have had our share of drugs coming into the jail,” Hornberger said. “Recently, we have had search issues with inmates who work within the facility. Once they are incarcerated, you can put them in the body scanner anytime you want.”
He said paper products coming into the jail could be laced with an illegal substance. At some of the larger state prisons, a device can detect the drugs, but that is something the scanner he is proposing cannot do.
Hornberger said the jail conducts pat-downs, and corrections officers can also do a cell search.
“Where do you stop with all the security measures?” he said. “Security is expensive.”