DPSCS Announces $1.1 Million Security Equipment Purchase
The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) announced the purchase of more than one million dollars worth of security equipment for its facilities at a news conference on Wednesday, November 4, 2009. The equipment - protective vests, gate entry scanners, x-ray machines, and state-of-the-art chairs designed to detect hidden contraband – will be placed in virtually all of the more than two dozen pretrial, sentencing, and treatment facilities operated by the Department.
“Our mission is to protect our employees, our inmates, and detainees, and this technologically superior equipment will help us do a better job of that,” said DPSCS Secretary Gary Maynard, under whose watch the Department has already seen a dramatic reduction of violence against staff.
Added Commissioner of Correction J. Michael Stouffer: “The Division of Correction is driven to make Maryland’s prisons the safest in the nation, and nothing is more important in that regard than protecting our staff. The way to best protect staff is to reduce contraband. This equipment will do just that.”
The security purchase comes at a time when the Department is undertaking a major violence reduction initiative. Between 2006 and the end of 2008, serious assaults by inmates on staff in the Division of Correction dropped 32%. And serous assaults with weapons were down 75%. In the Division of Pretrial Detention and Services, Baltimore’s pretrial facilities went two years without a single serious detainee-on-staff assault. During this same timeframe, DPSCS has dramatically increased intelligence-gathering, gang identification, and cell phone interdictions efforts.
Contraband is what fuels violence. The less we have, the less potential for violence.
HOW THE EQUIPMENT DETECTS CONTRABAND
The equipment, demonstrated during the event by correctional professionals, includes the BOSS chair, a new high-tech body orifice scanner that can detect contraband metal objects hidden inside the body. Some facilities already have the new chairs in service, and Major Mark Martin of the Division of Correction Security Operations Unit told members of the media his unit has already had two instances where the chair alerted to inmates with contraband objects hidden inside body cavities, including a handcuff key up the nasal cavity and a cell phone in the rectum. During a demonstration staff showed how easy it was to miss a razorblade hidden in the mouth of an inmate during a pat-down search, and then how quickly the BOSS chair detected the small object concealed under the tongue.
The equipment purchase also included more than 1,000 stab, ballistic, and combination vests; 18 new x-ray scanners; and 12 new SecureView entry scanners. The SecureView device shows officers specifically where a metal object is concealed in clothing worn on an inmate or a visitor entering a correctional facility. While the x-ray scanner picks up objects found in larger items like a package, jacket or bag.
A BREAKDOWN OF ITEMS PURCHASED:
24 BOSS Chairs
Vendor: Ranger Security
1,033 Protective Vests
12 SecureView Scanners
Vendor: View Systems
18 X-Ray Scanners
Vendor: Security Detection
TOTAL EQUIPMENT PURCHASE: Approximately $1,153,512