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Research on Contraband and Interdiction Modalities Used in Correctional Facilities

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $499,999)

This award was competitively made in response t a proposal submitted by Urban Institute to a National Institute of Justice FY 2015 solicitation: Research on the Efficacy of Different Contraband Interdiction Modalities Used in Correctional Facilities”

NIJ seeks proposals for funding to conduct research to identify the different interdiction modalities currently used by criminal justice agencies to keep contraband out of correctional facilities and what is known about their efficacy. An interdiction modality is considered to include both (1) the policies and practices that agencies use to prevent contraband from being brought into a facility as well as (2) those used to detect and remove contraband that may be in the facility. It also includes the statues and regulations that govern how these modalities are applied.

Urban proposes a 3-year effort in collaboration with the American Correctional Association (ACA) and the Fortune Society. Letters of commitment from both partners are included in the application.
Urban proposes mixed methods approach to collecting and analyzing the information needed to address the questions posited in the solicitation. Through focus groups with correctional administrators and formerly incarcerated individuals, the project team will finalize key data measures to be collected via a national survey and in-depth case studies. Based on a stratified sample of 600-800 U.S. correctional facilities, the survey will generate national estimates on the prevalence of contraband and use of different interdiction modalities.
Supplementing the survey data will be in-depth case studies in up to nine facilities. The case studies will entail a comprehensive review of contraband policies, administrative data, and semi-structured interviews with correctional staff to develop a fuller understanding of contraband issues. The case studies will analyze content from various sources of information to elucidate the motivations for adopting certain contraband interdiction modalities, implementation challenges, and the efficacy of interdiction modalities. Analytic weights will be developed for survey data to account for sampling designs and data attrition (e.g., nonresponse) and examine the questions posited in the solicitation with respect to the characteristics of facilities (i.e., size, security level, type, and region).

This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law.


Date Created: September 14, 2015