HMP Barlinnie gets first prison body scanner in Scotland in efforts to curb smuggling

Device instantly reveals contraband such as drugs, weapons and mobile phones

A prison has become the first in Scotland to install a body scanner in a bid to crack down on contraband smuggling.

The device at HMP Barlinnie can instantly reveal banned items such as drugs, weapons and mobile phones.

The scanner, licensed by the UK government, has been in operation at the Glasgow jail for the last six months.

This is in contrast to England and Wales, where 73 prisons had body scanners by October last year.

Every jail in Scotland now also photocopies prisoners’ post to stop letters soaked in substances from reaching inmates as governors take tougher action against drugs.

The Scottish Prison Service in February said there had been a 72 per cent reduction in letters testing positive for an illicit substance since the rule was introduced in December.

Scottish justice secretary Keith Brown said there had been five deaths linked to the drug etizolam among prisoners in 2021, before the new policy was in place.

Prison officers had previously been able to scan items for substances, but were unable to screen every item because of the volume.

Barlinnie governor Michael Stoney estimated the prison’s inmates received about 340 letters each day and said mail laced with substances would occasionally slip through searches unnoticed.

Mr Stoney told the BBC the prison appeared “far more settled” since the measures were introduced.

He also said there had been a big reduction in prisoners being taken to hospital because of drug-induced fits.

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