Backscatter X-ray screening machines proved too invasive and controversial for airports, but apparently they're getting a new lease on life at US prisons. According to Federal Times, 154 of the full-body scanners have already been distributed to prisons in states including Iowa, Louisiana, and Virginia. Five others have found new homes at sheriffs' offices across Arkansas. The TSA pulled backscatter machines from airports last year in response to criticism from travelers and lawmakers over the revealing output they produce. Rapiscan, the vendor of those scanners, failed to meet a Congressionally-mandated deadline that called for nude, full-body images to be replaced with a more generic representation of passengers being screened. The devices also raised health questions over radiation exposure.
96 of the scanners remain at Rapiscan's warehouse, though the TSA says it will continue trying to find new destinations for them. "TSA and the vendor are working with other government agencies interested in receiving the units for their security mission needs and for use in a different environment," a spokesperson told Federal Times. Still, history has a way of repeating itself. Like airline travelers, prison employees aren't thrilled by the backscatter machines infringing on their privacy. Mississippi has debated legislation that would only require workers to pass through the scanners if they're suspected of carrying in contraband for prisoners.