OLYMPIA – A bill ensuring both security and human dignity within our state’s correctional facilities passed the Senate on Monday.  

Senate Bill 6187, sponsored by Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle), removes the previously set expiration date of June 30, 2024, effectively extending the Body Scanner Pilot Program at the Department of Corrections indefinitely. 

Originally created to reduce strip searches, the expanded purpose of the body scanner program now explicitly encompasses the protection of human dignity. By leveraging new technology, these scanners aim to significantly reduce or eliminate the need for invasive strip searches, ensuring the dignity of incarcerated individuals. 

“This bill prioritizes the safety of inmates and correctional staff without sacrificing human dignity, setting the groundwork for a safer, more humane and equitable environment in our correctional facilities,” Saldaña said. 

In recent years, correctional facilities in Washington have faced a rising tide of contraband, posing serious threats to the safety and security of both inmates and staff. Saldaña’s bill addresses this pressing issue by providing correctional officers with the tools they need to effectively combat the influx of illegal materials. By using high-tech body scanners, authorities can quickly and accurately find hidden contraband on or inside people, stopping attempts to sneak dangerous items into jails without resorting to invasive strip searches that might compromise an individual’s dignity. 

The bill also stipulates that the scanners must adhere to stringent federal and state radiation and safety standards, ensuring the well-being of all individuals subjected to screening. 

The bill now heads to the House for consideration.