GLASGOW prison HMP Barlinnie has become the first in Scotland to install a body scanner.

The Scottish Prison Service has introduced the device to cut down on smuggling contraband, the BBC reports.

Barlinnie governor Michael Stoney said they had seen a great reduction in prisoners being taken to hospital as a result of drug-induced fits. 

He told the BBC: "We've stopped lots of drugs coming into the prison and the prison seems far more settled.

"The staff will report the areas they're working in are far more settled.

"The individuals are back to being predictable and able to work with, the prisoners will report that the prison feels safer again - they're not under pressure to bring drugs in, get drugs sent in or use drugs themselves."

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Illegal substances often get inside prisons through drug-soaked clothing or letters before being smoked.

Prisoners' mail has been photocopied since last December to prevent letters soaked in substances from reaching inmates. 

Governor Stoney added that mail would occasionally get through searches and result in "pockets of activity", including prisoners being sent to hospital after smoking letters.

He said: "These substances are particularly powerful and can cause a lot of long term damage and short term damage.

"Photocopying the mail prevents another route of entry."

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The scanner, which has been operational in Glasgow for six months, comes after a surge in drug seizures in Scotland's prisons during the Covid pandemic.

There had been an 18-fold increase in stoppages of so-called "street valium" in a year, while seizures of psychoactive substances nearly doubled.