Senator Gallivan Announces Bill to Prevent Jail Violence is Signed into Law

Patrick M. Gallivan

October 05, 2018

New Laws Expands Use of Body Scanners in Local Jails

Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) announced that a bill permitting the use of TSA body image scanner devices in correctional facilities has been signed into law. The bill (S5337), sponsored by Senator Gallivan and Senator Kemp Hannon (R, Nassau), allows body scanners to be used in jails as part of an effort to detect concealed weapons and reduce inmate violence.

“As a former State Trooper and Sheriff of Erie County, I understand the challenge of keeping contraband out of local correctional facilities,” Senator Gallivan said.  “Allowing the use of body scanners to detect weapons and other materials will help reduce violence and ensure the safety of inmates, officers and staff.”

"The signing of this bill into law will allow us to better screen arrestees coming into the Livingston County Jail for drugs, weapons and other contraband," Livingston County Sheriff Thomas J. Dougherty said.  "I thank our local Senator, Patrick Gallivan, for his persistent efforts to ensure correctional facilities across the state are safer for those incarcerated and safer for the hard working men and women who ensure the care, custody and control of those incarcerated."

In 2015, the state Commission of Correction suspended the use of body scanners that were being used in jails because a review of the state’s public health law indicated that the use of such scanners were limited to medical purposes only.

This new law once again allows scanners to be used to help safeguard inmates and staff from assault with contraband knives and other weapons. These scanners are effective in finding contraband hidden in inmates’ bodies or in their clothing, including items such as ceramic blades, as well as titanium or plastic products that can be used for makeshift knives. Before their use was halted, body scanners acted as a deterrent, discouraging inmates from carrying weapons of any kind, and reducing the threat of violence.

Governor Cuomo signed the bill into law earlier this week.