Magilligan scanners pilot to be completed soon

JUSTICE Minister David Ford has said that he expects the innovative body scanning pilot scheme at Magilligan Prison to be completed by the end of this month.

The Minister had been asked by Foyle MLA Pat Ramsey for “an update on the scanning pilots in Magilligan and Hydebank Wood prisons.”

David Ford replied: “As I have reported previously, Northern Ireland Prison Service officials continue to take forward work in conjunction with the implementation of Recommendation Eight of the Prison Review Team’s final report.

“Central to this work has been two pilots of Millimetre Wave technology in NIPS establishments and the development of our own Justification Application for the use of Transmission X-ray scanners in Northern Ireland prisons.

“The Millimetre Wave body scanning technology pilots currently underway in Magilligan Prison and Hydebank Wood Young Offender Centre will be completed by the end of January. Prior to the completion of these pilots, I plan to invite any interested members of the Justice Committee to view the technology in operation at Hydebank Wood.

“Evaluation of the results will commence once the pilots have been completed, and will focus on the effectiveness and appropriateness of this technology, measured against existing search procedures.

“The evaluation process should be swift. However, until such times as it has been completed it is not possible to provide an assessment of the suitability of this technology for use in the prison environment.”