The Story

State law had long barred the use of sensitive body scanners for visitors at city jails on the basis that they emit too much radiation, though the same machines are widely used at airports. Fortunately, Albany has passed a bill that will allow the city’s Department of Correction to reinstall and use these devices. At a time when violence at Rikers Island is a major concern, the city should use every tool available to keep contraband away from the incarcerated population.


The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Stabbing: After the scanners were removed in 2014, the number of stabbings and slashings in city jails more than doubled. Read more.

  2. Concentrated: Violent assaults at Rikers have increased sharply, even as the jail population has decreased. Read more.

  3. Segregation: Eliminating punitive segregation for inmates under 21 has further enhanced a dangerous and violent environment for the jailed population and corrections officers. Read more.

“We’ve been saying for years that we need more advanced body scanners to keep small blades and weapons out of our jails.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

The Jail Inferno By Heather Mac Donald Front Page Magazine (July 27, 2009)

“The truth is that surveillance goes both ways in correctional facilities. Inmates watch their keepers as intensely as they are watched — and usually much more malignly.”

And in other news...

“The city estimates that the new policy would lead to a 60% overall decline in pot arrests, which would bring arrests to around 4,400, and aims to have the policy in place by September, according to a source.”