Justice Minister David Ford announced trials of two types of scanners designed to replace full-body searches in prisons, on 1 May 2012.
The trials will consider the effectiveness of transmission x-ray and millimetre wave equipment.
Mr Ford rejected a comment from the DUP's Sydney Anderson that prisons policy on searches was being dictated by dissident republican prisoners.
The minister also confirmed that he had plans to end the practice of jailing people for the non-payment of fines.
Replying to a question from Sinn Fein's Cathal Boylan, Mr Ford said 632 people had been imprisoned in the first quarter of 2012 for non-payment.
He described imprisonment as "a fairly pointless exercise", and said it should be replaced by "constructive community service".
The minister added that when on a recent visit to Dublin he had observed offenders being taken to Mountjoy Prison in order to fill in paperwork and then be released within minutes.
John McCallister of the UUP asked if the minister would follow the example of Scotland and allow part of court proceedings to be televised.
Mr Ford said he had no immediate plans to lift the ban on filming in Northern Ireland's courts but had asked officials to monitor developments in Scotland, and in England and Wales.
The SDLP member for East Londonderry, John Dallat, asked about the possible rebuilding of Magilligan prison, which lies in his constituency.
The minister said there were no plans to rebuild Magilligan. He added that there were proposals to develop a new, medium-security prison to allow for the replacement of Magilligan on a phased basis.
Earlier in Question Time, the Health Minister, Edwin Poots, was asked about the services available for the treatment of people with eating disorders.
Sean Rodgers of the SDLP wanted to know how much was spent on the treatment of eating disorders outside Northern Ireland.
The minister replied that the costs involved were "very significant" when treatment was delivered in other jurisdictions. The health department paid travel and accommodation costs for families when they had to travel outside Northern Ireland.
He added that £2m had been spent on developing community-based services since 2005.