Islington’s HMP Pentonville cracks down on contraband with ‘advanced’ x-ray scanner

The machines allow staff to “instantly” see if prisoners are smuggling in contraband. Picture: Minis

The machines allow staff to instantly see if prisoners are smuggling in contraband. Picture: Ministry of Justice - Credit: Archant

An Islington prison is cracking down on crime behind bars with a new x-ray scanner.

Using a £100 million funding package from the government, HMP Pentonville on Caledonian Road is one of a handful of prisons around the country to receive an “advanced” x-ray scanner to check inmates.

The machines, which were developed specifically for prisons, allow staff to “instantly see” if prisoners are smuggling in illegal items such as drugs, weapons and phones.

A statement released by the Ministry of Justice says the images produced “surpass anything else currently on the market”.

The technology has already helped officers find four pieces of contraband, including two mobile phones.

Prisons and probation minister Lucy Frazer said: “This new technology at Pentonville is a vital part of our efforts to stem the flow of contraband into jails and allow officers to focus on rehabilitation.”

The £100m grant, which will also be used to buy metal-detection tools, phone-blocking technology and a new digital forensics facility, is part of a wider £2.75 billion governmental commitment to transform the prison estate.

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That includes £2.5 billion for 10,000 extra places in “modern” prisons and £156 million for maintenance.

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