Remand Centre gets body scanner to help stop flow of drugs, weapons
'This system will be able to look inside and tell us that you are transporting stuff into our building'
Edmonton's Remand Centre will soon have a body scanner to help stop the flow of drugs and weapons into the facility.
On Wednesday morning, the centre revealed the new technology as part of a year-long pilot project aimed at making the facility safer for inmates and those who work inside.
"This system will be able to look inside and tell us that you are transporting stuff into our building. We see it not as a replacement for our existing procedures but as another useful tool in our toolbox to prevent the narcotics and contraband from entering our facility."
"It's the potency of what's coming in"
At present, inmates coming into the remand centre are searched using pat downs, drug dogs and other methods. The scanner, similar to the technology used at airports, will help guards pinpoint everything from homemade weapons to tiny amounts of drugs such as fentanyl, which pose threats to inmates and guards alike.
Since Jan 1. 2016, there have been three drug overdose deaths at the centre.
"It's the potency of what's coming in that's caused the greatest concern," said Johnston.
Guy Smith, president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, said his members have been lobbying the government to enhance safety.
"Health and safety is our number one priority for our members," said Smith.
"We've also asked the government to provide Narcan kits, the antidote to fentanyl exposure, and that's occurring as well," he said. "So I think both the government, the employer and the union are taking this extremely seriously."
The scanner cost $580,000.
Similar ones are currently used in 29 jails in Ontario, and at some in British Columbia.
The one-year pilot project begins on Dec. 1.