Ontario Continues to Improve Security at Adult Correctional Facilities
August 09, 2021
TORONTO — The Ontario government continues to enhance security at adult correctional facilities through the installation of ion scanners at an additional 14 institutions. This brings the contraband detection technology to every adult correctional facility in the province, as part of Ontario’s Contraband Strategy and Action Plan. “Our government is following through on the commitment to equip corrections staff with the modern tools and technology they need to do their job safely and securely,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “This is yet another step in our contraband strategy to enhance detection and prevention to protect the safety and well-being of our staff as well as those in custody.” Ion scanners are security tools used to detect and identify trace elements of drugs and are an added layer of security to help prevent illegal substances from entering facilities. Currently, there are a number of methods used to prevent, detect, confiscate, and reduce contraband within Ontario’s institutions such as body scanners, hand-held and walk-through metal detectors, searches, and canine units. Work is underway to complete staff training and have all ion scanners fully operational by fall 2021. “The OPSEU Ministry Employee Relations Committee members are pleased that ion scanners will be at all 25 institutions in Ontario,” said Chad Oldfield, Co-Chair of the SolGen Corrections Ministry Employee Relations Committee. “These scanners are an important tool to help ensure the continued safety of all staff and inmates in our institutions.” These scanners build on the introduction of specialized devices at all 25 adult correctional facilities across the province to detect and locate contraband cell phones, which are a growing concern within facilities and can be used by inmates for criminal activities, to intimidate witnesses or share security details from within an institution.
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.
Contraband is any item in an inmate’s possession that is not issued, in an area of the institution that is not permitted, or that has been modified from its intended purpose, and can be in the form of drugs, alcohol, weapons and other items such as cell phones, but also includes institutional items at times or in quantities where they are not permitted.
The government is also investing more than $500 million over five years to transform adult correctional services in Ontario.