DURHAM Prison will be among 16 of the most challenging jails to receive new x-ray body scanners as part of tough new security measures to crackdown on crime behind bars.

Developed specifically for the Prison Service, the technology will produce instant images from inside the human body and can reveal internally concealed contraband, including drugs, mobile phones and weapons.

The cutting-edge technology will be installed first at prisons with high volumes of remand prisoners, which pose the greatest risk of smuggling.

It is understood £28 million will pay for X-ray scanners across the country is being funded from the Government’s £100 million package to boost security.

The investment will fund new measures to tackle drugs and violence in prisons, including x-ray baggage scanners and metal-detection equipment, phone-blocking technology and a new digital forensics facility.

The first wave of jails has been prioritised after careful consideration and this will boost security where remand prisoners are received from courts.

The use of x-ray body scanners at ten other challenging prisons, as part of the Ten Prisons Project, was successful in detecting contraband and contributed to a significant reduction in violence and drug use.

Other prisons receiving scanners are HMP Exeter, Preston, Liverpool, Birmingham, Hewell, Lincoln, Bedford, Norwich, Chelmsford, Winchester, Elmley, Pentonville, Wandsworth, Bristol and Cardiff.

Adani Limited has been awarded a multi-year contract for the supply, installation and support of the x-ray body scanners.

The installation at HMP Durham will begin in Spring 2020, with all scanners expected to be in place by the Summer.

The technology is set to be introduced in other prisons across the country later this year.

The images produced by the scanner provide a level of detail inside the body that has not been seen before in the Prison Service.

Prisons and Probation Minister Lucy Frazer said: “New technology is a vital part of our efforts to stop those determined to wreak havoc in our jails.

“These scanners will help to stem the flow of contraband into jails and allow officers to focus on rehabilitation.

“We’re investing £2.75 billion to transform our prisons, creating 10,000 additional modern places, and stepping up security to cut crime and better protect the public.”

Alan Tallentire, Prisons Group Director for Tees and Wear, said: “This new technology is an exciting development which will give prison officers the edge in stemming the flow of drugs and illicit items into our jails.

“This will help us to create a safer environment for prisoners and staff, and focus efforts on changing lives.”

The equipment is being funded by the Government’s £2.75 billion commitment to transform the prison estate.

This includes: £2.5 billion to provide 10,000 additional prison places and create modern, efficient jails that rehabilitate offenders, reduce reoffending and keep the public safe and £156 million to tackle the most pressing maintenance issues to create safe and decent conditions for offender rehabilitation.