May 4, 2016

Governor Cuomo Announces More Than $1 Million to Enhance Safety and Prevent Contraband at State Correctional Facilities

Governor Cuomo Announces More Than $1 Million to Enhance Safety and Prevent Contraband at State Correctional Facilities

'Cellsense' Technology Helps Correctional Staff Discover Hard to Detect Contraband Before Being Used Inside State Facilities

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced more than $1 million to expand the use of Cellsense technology to all 54 state prisons and strengthen the efforts of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to crack down on contraband and weapons inside these facilities. Cellsense devices are state-of-the-art portable detection systems used to conduct full-body searches of inmates and screen mail, laundry, mattresses and other inmate property. Since April, they have been placed in 48 of New York State's 54 state prisons, with the remaining facilities to receive them by year's end.

"This new technology will better detect contraband and serve as a deterrent to illicit activity in New York’s prisons, helping to protect the health and safety of correction officers and inmates," Governor Cuomo said. "We will continue to ensure our correctional system has access to the resources and the tools they need to improve the safety and security of our facilities."

Unlike traditional metal detectors, staff have the ability to easily move, and even hide these devices, which has significantly improved their ability to search for contraband and weapons in areas, and times that were previously considered problematic. The device, which requires less than a minute to set up, conducts full body scan of inmates who walk past, allowing for more inmates to be searched in less time. In just the first few weeks of use, these devices have uncovered numerous illicit items such as metal weapons and needles.

At Green Haven Correctional Facility in Beekman, Dutchess County, Cellsense alerted staff to an inmate who was later found to have ingested a razor blade wrapped in electrical tape, something that is often undetectable by traditional means given how the weapon was wrapped and hidden in the body.

New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Acting Commissioner Anthony Annucci said, "Contraband is an on-going issue and poses a danger to both staff and inmates in our facilities. DOCCS increased use of technology, such as Cellsense, builds on Governor Cuomo's commitment to deploy new technologies to improve safety in our prisons and offices and is something we as a Department are grateful to have."

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