New scanning device headed to Rikers can detect contraband inside bodies

The city of New York is purchasing 10 super-sensitive scanning devices aimed at stopping Rikers Island inmates — and correction officers — from sneaking cellphones and other contraband inside their bodies, The Post has learned.

Faced with a sudden smuggling surge, the Department of Correction will award a contract Tuesday to Illinois-based Metrasens, which sells the Cellsense Plus portable gizmos for $10,000 each.

Unlike traditional metal detectors, the new scanners can detect all cellphones and small weapons, which often go undetected — and they can do so quickly, within 15 seconds, and safely, without emitting signals or fields, according to the company.

“We had a test run with these gadgets about a month ago. They’re mobile. You can carry them around, set them up on the floor,” a Correction source told The Post.

“I think it’s a great idea. It works. It’s going to be helpful, and we need all the help we can get.”

The sensors can be mounted along a wall to scan inmates, prison employees and correction officers, or laid out horizontally to scan inmates’ mattresses.

The city confirmed the contract. A DOC spokesman said the agency seeks to use “the best available tools in order to find and eliminate contraband in our jails and these scanners will help us in the search.”

The scanners will be used primarily to search inmates for hidden weapons — but are just as effective on cellphones, which prisoners have been known to hide in their rectums. On its site, Metrasens even shows an X-ray of a Texas inmate said to be attempting such a feat.

In 2013, 18 smuggled cellphones were found in city jails.

That number skyrocketed to 45 last year, and so far this year, 32 cellphones have been seized.

Meanwhile, drug seizures are up 25 percent and weapon seizures are up 28 percent this year in the city’s jails.

Corrupt DOC employees make things even more challenging, with 11 correction officers and prison employees arrested in the past 18 months for smuggling banned items, according to the city’s Department of Investigation.

The latest suspect is Kevin McKoy, 30, a correction officer arrested last Tuesday and accused of trying to smuggle seven scalpels, synthetic marijuana and prescription painkiller into a Rikers Island facility.

Although the risk posed by weapons to inmates and correction officers is obvious, hidden cellphones pose a bigger danger, too, a DOC source said.

“A lot of inmates are in gangs or involved in drug dealing. And by having a cellphone . . . they can conduct a lot of business.

“They can order hits from the jail, they can conduct drug transactions from the jail, they can tell their dealers where to sell their drugs. They can find out information on the Web about anyone — and they can use that information for their own purposes.

“It’s very dangerous — even more so than having a weapon. You can get a lot more things done with a smartphone than with a razor or a shank.”

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