Just when you thought it was safe..

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It has been so nice to get reassurances from various provincial government officials that the proposed prison in Kemptville will be completely safe and poses no threat to the community. And then the Solicitor General’s Office issued a press release announcing that they are installing ion scanners at 10 adult correctional facilities across the province “as part of an effort to combat contraband entering facilities, enhance security, and improve staff and inmate safety.”

“Detecting and preventing the entry of contraband is critical to keeping Ontario’s correctional facilities safe,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “Our government is committed to equipping our corrections staff with the modern tools and technology they need to do their job safely and ensure continued security.”

Ion scanners are security tools used to detect and identify trace elements of drugs and are an added layer of security available to correctional staff to help prevent illegal substances from entering facilities. Adult correctional facilities in Ontario currently use various methods to prevent, detect, confiscate, and reduce contraband within institutions, including body scanners, hand-held and walk-through metal detectors, strip searches, and canine units.

Ion scanners will be operational in regions across Ontario at adult correctional facilities, including in the Eastern Region at the Central East Correctional Centre and the Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre.

The Co-Chair of the Corrections Ministry Employee Relations Committee, Chris Jackel, welcomed the move as it would “go a long way in providing correctional staff with the added tools to detect contraband before it enters our institutions, enhancing staff, inmate and public safety even further.” The part about enhancing public safety is very reassuring indeed.

The statement specifically links the expansion of ion scanner facilities to the increased investment by Ontario of more than $500 million over five years to transform adult correctional services in Ontario. It is also, it said, part of a broader strategy to combat contraband in adult correctional facilities.

By the time the Kemptville prison is up and running, staff will have had lots of experience with the scanners, which should make us all feel much more reconciled to having the facility here.

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