TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Linda R. Greenstein and Senator Shirley K. Turner that would permit correctional facilities to use body imaging scanning equipment was signed into law today.
The law, S-2832, permits State and county correctional facilities to use body imaging scanning equipment to search inmates, arrestees and detainees. Body imaging scanning equipment is defined as equipment that uses a low dose conventional x-ray transmission to produce an anatomical image of the inmate which can identify external and internal contraband.
“Inmates are resourcefully creative when it comes to finding ways to hide contraband. The body imaging scanning equipment will serve as another tool to help officers ensure their own safety as well as the safety of other inmates in the facility,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Middlesex and Mercer), chair of the Law and Public Safety Committee. “The equipment will supplement standard searches and enhance security in our state’s correctional facilities.”
Under the law, the use of body imaging scanning equipment would be limited to searches conducted any time before or after an inmate enters or leaves the correctional facility, is placed in pre-hearing detention, disciplinary detention, protective custody, psychological observation, or suicide watch, or has a contact visit in which the inmate and visitor are permitted physical contact with each other. The law also allows for use after inmates have been in any area where they have access to dangerous or valuable items, during a mass search of an inmate housing unit or inmate work area, and when a custody staff member with a rank of sergeant or above determines that there is reasonable suspicion that an inmate is carrying or concealing contraband, internally or externally, or that the search is reasonably necessary for safety and security.
“It is just as important to have appropriate training on the proper use of the body imaging scanning equipment as it is to have the high-tech equipment for safety and security at our correctional facilities,” said Senator Turner (D-Hunterdon, Mercer). “This law accounts for that, and will surely help make our facilities safer for everyone.”
The law also requires any body imaging scanning equipment to be operated by an employee of the State or county correctional facility or other law enforcement officer who has successfully completed a training course approved by the Police Training Commission and met any education and training qualifications required by the Commissioner of Corrections.
The law takes effect immediately.