EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – Corrections officers inside the Vanderburgh County jail have a new tool to harden cell doors and bring another layer of security to deputies and inmates.

People coming in will be screened to keep drugs, weapons, and other contraband out.

Early this week, Rayven Crook was sentenced to 11 years in prison for fatally stabbing a man in Evansville. She pled guilty to the crime. During her last court hearing, Crook told the judge she was on meth – while in custody – when she agreed to the deal.

How is it possible? Sheriff Dave Wedding says it’s not as unlikely as you might think.

“We know people are going through great lengths to get drugs into our complex,” Wedding said. “Many of these people are extremely addicted to narcotics, and they will go to any measure.”

Despite efforts from arrestees almost every day, Wedding doesn’t buy Crook’s story about being high on meth about a month ago when the plea deal was agreed to.

“Could it be possible? Yes. Could she be lying? Yes, as well.”

A body scanner at the Vanderburgh County jail will help spot drugs inside inmates.

Wedding says inmates can swallow bags of drugs to pass later or insert drugs into a body cavity to go undetected in a standard pat-down during booking.

A new full-body scanner will be deployed starting this weekend for every person who comes in. It gives corrections officers a look inside inmates.

“You’re never going to stop the introduction of contraband into the facility,” said Sgt. David Guetling. “This gives us the capability to spot what we cannot find.”

Guetling has been helping other corrections officers train on the machine for the last couple of months.

Smuggled drugs are a concern and becoming more common inside the jail. The scanner helps him spot anomalies.

“We’re always trying to come up with better ways to enhance our security,” he said.

Sheriff Wedding hopes the body scanner will make the jail more secure.

If something is caught on the scanner inside an inmate, the Sheriff’s Office will have to apply for a search warrant to get it. Inmates will be taken to the hospital to have it removed and they will pick up a felony, too.

The scanner is like ones you find at airports. It cost the Sheriff’s Office about $130,000.

Wedding admits, the scanner won’t stop every ounce of drugs from getting in cells. People on the outside may be the biggest offenders.

“The postal service,” Wedding said. “Because inmates get volumes of mail and people are very creative.”

Traces of drugs can be laced on envelopes, in folds of paper, and under stamps. Wedding says they don’t have the resources to scan every piece of mail coming in.

“Our inmate population has 24-7-365 days to beat us,” Guetling added.

It is difficult to stay one step ahead, but seven seconds on the body scanner will help them do it.

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This story was originally published on October 24, 2019