The Monmouth County Sheriff's Office is the first in the state to deploy a new body scanner intended to stop the smuggling of contraband into the county jail.

The B-Scan machine exposes a subject to about as much radiation as eating a banana does. Sheriff Shaun Golden said inmates can be repeatedly scanned for anything hidden inside or outside the body at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution — "drugs and knives, or any weapons-making material, or any cellphones or the like."

He said the jail already conducts cautious searches of inmates that come into the facility, but "this machine gives us an opportunity, and an additional step."

According to Golden, the scanner is similar to those used at airports. It came to use because of amendments to state law that permit full-body X-ray scanners.

"We went on a mission with the Warden's Association and the Sheriff's Association of New Jersey to secure legislation, and our legislators backed us up on that, and it was signed into law by Gov. Christie. I am sure other institutions in the state will follow, as it is a useful tool to thwart incoming contraband," Golden said.

Scanning incoming inmates
The Monmouth County jail is the first in the state to perform X-ray scans on incoming inmates. (Courtesy of the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office)

He said the main point is safety — the safety of the employees, and the safety of the other inmates.

This new device helps by more clearly detecting contraband that an inmate might swallow or hide in a body cavity.

"So far, we have had a very successful deployment of the machine. We have already had a number of cases (in) which we have seized contraband that may have been harmful to inmates in our correctional officers," Golden said,

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5.

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