Pubdate: Tue, 25 Oct 2016
Source: Hamilton Spectator (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 The Hamilton Spectator
Author: Molly Hayes
Page: A1


Inmates already facing drug charges: police

Body scanner technology is up and running at the Barton Jail, as part
of the province's efforts to combat smuggling.

More than 1,750 Hamilton Wentworth Detention Centre (HWDC) inmates
have gone through the scanner since it was activated on Sept. 6,
according to the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

"Three positive body scans have resulted in criminal charges for three
HWDC inmates by the Hamilton Police Service," ministry spokesperson
Andrew Morrison said in an email.

Morrison would not provide details about items commonly intercepted by
body scanners - which have been recommended repeatedly over the years
at inquests into drug-related inmate deaths.

Hamilton Police said a 25-year-old male inmate was charged Sept. 6 for
possession for the purpose of trafficking marijuana after he was found
with 130 grams of pot.

A 19-year-old man was charged the same day with possession after he
was found with 60 grams of marijuana, police said.

And a 25-year-old female inmate was charged Sept. 24 with possession
of marijuana.

Police said she was carrying 39 grams of tobacco and 22 grams of

Before the advent of body scanners, inmates being admitted to jail
would go through metal detectors and sit on BOSS (body orifice
security scanner) chairs to detect any metal objects hidden in body

But things like drugs or liquids could not be picked up by those

If an inmate was suspected of smuggling drugs - commonly done by
putting drug-filled plastic egg-shaped candy containers in the rectum
- - the inmate could be placed in "dry cells," which do not have running
water so evidence cannot be flushed away.

Monte Vieselmeyer, corrections division chair for the Ontario Public
Service Employees Union, said the union has long called for body
scanners - and he described them as a "game changer" for correctional

"It's going to make our facility safer, not only for staff but for
inmates," he said.

"Especially with the type of drugs coming in … the drugs these guys
could be ingesting could be their death notice."

The scanners were first launched as a six-month pilot project at
Toronto West Detention Centre in August 2015 and have now been
installed at six other institutions, including Barton.

"The ministry remains committed to installing body scanners in all 26
provincial correctional facilities by 2018," said Morrison, the
ministry spokesperson.

The machines use low-dose X-ray technology to capture images of
contraband hidden in body cavities.

During the Toronto West pilot, 16,427 scans were done and 86 inmates
were found with objects including ceramic blades, improvised weapons,
cigarette lighters, pills, marijuana and tobacco.

Vieselmeyer cited one benefit for law enforcement - each scan is
recorded and documented, so that picture can later be used as evidence
in court.

He said the machines will also discourage smuggling by inmates coming
into jails - particularly intermittent inmates, who serve their
sentence on weekends and can be pressured to bring drugs in with them.

"Now that message is filtering out - and we want it to: If you're
coming in (with drugs), you're going to be caught," he said.

There have been 18 inquests over the last decade into 19 overdose
deaths at provincial correctional facilities, which house inmates on
remand awaiting trial, serving short sentences and serving
intermittent (or weekend) sentences.

A Spectator investigation last year analyzed more than 100 non-binding
recommendations that came out of those inquests, including a call for
body scanners - the majority of which were never properly

An inquest of unprecedented scale is on the horizon for the Barton
Jail, following the drug-related deaths of six inmates between 2012
and 2015.

The deaths of David Gillian, Stephen Neeson, Louis Unelli, Marty
Tykoliz, William Acheson and Julien Walton will be probed at that
inquest - which has yet to be scheduled.

Walton, the latest victim, was 20 when he was found dead in his cell
one year ago this month.

His cellmate, also in his 20s, was also found unresponsive but

A spokesperson for the coroner's office said a date has not been set.
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