Body scanners in local jail proving to be more useful than strip searches

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HAMILTON COUNTY (June 23, 2015) -- A local jail is doing away with those uncomfortable strip searches for inmates.

A new hands off device allows officers to go beyond what their hands can feel.

The Hamilton County Jail now uses full body scanners as a way to detect contraband inmates may try to smuggle inside. When an inmate enters the jail they're sent through a fully body imaging machine called SecurPASS.

"We can actually see inside someone's body to make sure they haven't swallowed something. There's no way we could know before to do that," said Jail Commander, Captain Jason Sloderbeck.

Inmates step inside with shoes in hand and slide through to get a complete scan that produces a crystal clear image in less than 10 seconds.  The process is similar to an x-ray. The SecurPASS has caught items like knives and needles that people insert in their bodies. Sloderbeck says these machines catch more than the scanner TSA uses at the airport.

"The fact is TSA equipment is not any good in my opinion you can look on the website and see it, it penetrates through the body better so you can really see if there's anything in the body that should or should not be there," said Sloderbeck.

Hamilton County says the scanner has helped them tackle a growing drug problem and the violence that could come along with inmates selling or doing drugs inside.

"Now you're concerned there's people taking medication or drugs that they shouldn't be and what kind of overdose issues you may have. There's all these kinds of possibilities that can happen in here and it can't happen anymore," said Sloderbeck.

The machines cost about $150,000 each. Hamilton county has two SecurPASS. Sloderbeck says he hopes this sends a message to inmates not to even try to bring items in from the outside or they will be caught.

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