TORONTO — The Ontario government is 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 the following adult correctional facilities:
- Two scanners in the Central Region at the Maplehurst Correctional Complex and Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre.
- Two scanners in the Eastern Region at the Central East Correctional Centre and the Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre.
- Three scanners in the Northern Region at the Kenora Jail, Thunder Bay Jail and Sudbury Jail.
- One scanner in the Toronto Region at the Toronto South Detention Centre.
- Two scanners in Western Region at the Central North Correctional Centre and the South West Detention Centre.
"This announcement from the government is a testament to their dedication to frontline corrections staff," said Co-Chair of the Corrections Ministry Employee Relations Committee Chris Jackel. "This technological investment will 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."
Work is underway to train staff at those institutions to have all ion scanners fully operational by summer 2021. This initiative builds on the government's commitment to invest more than $500 million over five years to transform adult correctional services in Ontario. It is also part of a broader strategy to combat contraband in adult correctional facilities.
- An ion scanner was first introduced at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre in 2018 as a pilot and has been successfully used in identifying contraband drugs including fentanyl.
- Correctional facility staff such as security teams, will complete training and ensure the scanners are being used effectively to detect and identify contraband.