October 3, 2018 | Samantha Melamed | The Philadelphia Inquirer
J-Nae Kettoman doesn't care if she looks strange, scrubbing in like a surgeon with Dial soap brought from home, then snapping on latex gloves before lining up to enter the visiting room at State Correctional Institution Phoenix.
It's just part of the regimen that Kettoman, a Dauphin County resident who works for the commonwealth as a clerk-typist, has devised to avoid setting off the prison's ion mobility spectrometer — a device that analyzes swabs of every visitor's hands and pockets to detect trace levels of narcotics.
Some scour their photo IDs and car keys with soap and water in the bathroom off the prison lobby. Others keep a pristine set of clothing for prison visits in a Ziploc baggie. One woman skips her medication on days she goes to visit, because she's been told it could set off the ion scanner.
"We just were thinking: How can we get around touching anything else once we've washed our hands?" Kettoman, whose husband is serving 10 to 20 years, said of the ritual she and a friend developed after her second alarm earlier this year. A third strike would lead to a six-month suspension of her visiting privileges. "It's just nerve-racking."