NASHVILLE– Beginning January 2023, the Tennessee Department of Correction will require every person entering a TDOC prison to be screened by a full body scanner. The new technology enhances TDOC’s current security procedures by using advanced imaging technology that allows security staff to identify contraband being smuggled inside a person’s body.
Staff, visitors, volunteers, and all other personnel will still be required to abide by current security protocols. These include walking through a metal detector and allowing all belongings, outerwear, and shoes to pass through an x-ray machine. A person may also be required to undergo a pat-down or wand search.
“Like all correctional agencies across the country, Tennessee is in a constant battle to keep contraband out of our facilities. We are committed to meeting the evolving threat and our mission of operating safe and secure prisons,” said Interim Commissioner Lisa Helton. “The scanners will give our staff the ability to see what the naked eye cannot and add an extra layer of protection to our current approach.”
The body scanners should act as deterrents for individuals considering bringing contraband into a facility.
“Contraband is not just drugs – it is anything not distinctly allowed in our facilities. That could include tobacco, cell phones, weapons, and other electronics. Items like these breed an unsafe environment for everyone inside and can interfere greatly with the rehabilitation of offenders” continued Helton.
TDOC screening technology is safe and meets national health and safety standards. Individuals with a pacemaker or in a wheelchair, children sixteen (16) years of age or younger, pregnant individuals or those who think they may be pregnant, will not be required to clear the body scanner. Individuals with other mobility or physical conditions preventing the use of the body scanner will be required to undergo all other security measures and must produce documentation (doctor’s note, etc.) during subsequent visits.
Anyone attempting to introduce contraband into a correctional facility will be arrested and could face criminal prosecution.