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Use of ION Scan equipment on hold

July 09, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

o Suit: Employees made to crouch naked during strip search

HAGERSTOWN -- The ION Scan technology used in an August 2008 contraband interdiction operation at Maryland Correctional Training Center south of Hagerstown has not been used by the Division of Correction since, a prisons spokesman said Thursday.

An ION Scan detects the presence of drugs on the surface of clothing or personal items.

The department reviewed its policy on strip searches after nine employees at MCTC were strip searched after undergoing ION Scans, Division of Public Safety and Correctional Services spokesman Rick Binetti said.

He said he can't discuss security procedures in detail.

The new policy states that only the Division of Correction commissioner, or someone acting for them, may authorize a strip search.

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However, DPSCS Secretary Gary Maynard has issued orders superseding that policy. He ordered that only the department secretary, or acting secretary, may authorize a strip search, Binetti said.

Use of the ION Scan equipment is on hold indefinitely and prison officials continue to review policies related to its use, Binetti said.

Training policies also are being reviewed, he said.

A DPSCS internal document related to the investigation shows the person primarily in charge of ION Scan training and execution had not provided ION Scan machine operator training since 2001.

In an Aug. 27, 2008, letter printed in The Herald-Mail, Maynard wrote: "But, while properly intentioned, this particular operation fell short. The hastily organized implementation of these procedures caused stress and embarrassment to some very fine employees. My promise to them, along with Commissioner (Michael) Stouffer's, is that it won't happen again."

Stouffer met with and personally apologized to the MCTC staff members who were searched, according to Maynard's letter.

"Though inconvenient, good security is not intended to demean or demoralize," Maynard wrote.

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