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Countering Threats to Correctional Institution Security: Identifying Innovation Needs to Address Current and Emerging Concerns

NCJ Number
Date Published
28 pages

This is a report on a workshop of correctional administrators and researchers who identified current and emerging threats to the security of correctional institutions and the means of mitigating the risks they pose, with the major workshop goals of producing a set of priority needs to inform the research agenda of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), as well as contribute to the national discussion of correctional security issues.


The workshop identified understaffing as a major threat that requires setting staffing ratio standards, along with recruitment and retention strategies to meet standards. Training for supervisors is needed, along with resources and capacity to develop staff. Means are needed to identify staff who are prone to compromise in supervising inmates. Technologies and best practices are needed for detecting contraband such as drugs, cell phones, and weapons. Fully electronic mail systems should be reviewed as a means of reducing the influx of drugs and protect staff and inmates from harm. The workshop participants favor the establishment of research and testing centers that will evaluate emerging technology that can counter security threats. Best practices are needed to balance inmate access to technology for reentry purposes with restrictions needed to counter security threats. Security threat groups (STGs) continue to be security threats. Research is needed to identify best practices for managing STGs. Technologies are needed to analyze inmate communications and identify associations based on inmate movement patterns. 9 tables, 3 figures, and 31 references

Date Published: January 1, 2019