New York is set to significantly expand the use of body scanning devices in its correctional facilities as part of the state budget recently adopted. The updated regulations will permit body scanning of state employees at correctional facilities, inmate visitors, and those in custody. The move aims to address the increasing contraband and violence within prisons and jails while reducing the need for more invasive searches such as body cavity searches.
Since 2018, body scanning has been allowed in local correctional facilities, with 14 jurisdictions and the Rikers Island jail complex in New York City using the technology. However, the use of body scanning devices has been controversial due to health concerns surrounding the low doses of ionizing radiation emitted by the machines, which have been linked to higher cancer risks and other adverse health effects. Privacy issues have also been raised, particularly in facilities housing women.
The New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association supports the measure, stating that it is necessary to address the epidemic of violence in correctional facilities following the pandemic. The budget directs the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to regulate the technology rollout and ensures that alternative search requests cannot be grounds for disciplinary action.
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