Senate Bill to Prevent Jail Violence is Signed Into Law

October 02, 2018

New Law Expands the Use of Body Scanners in Jails to Help Reduce Weapon Smuggling and Inmate Violence

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

Senator Hannon said, “The use of ceramic blades as weapons remains a widespread threat among the inmate population because blades can be smuggled in undetected under current security measures. Utilizing scanners will eliminate that threat and will ensure the safety and security of correction officers as well as fellow inmates. Correction officers put their lives on the line every single day to ensure public safety, we should do the same to ensure theirs.” 

Senator Gallivan said, “As a former State Trooper and Sheriff of Erie County, I understand the challenge of keeping contraband out of local correctional facilities.  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.”

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 allows scanners to once again 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, discouraged inmates from carrying weapons of any kind, and reduced the threat of violence.

Senators Involved