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Making Prisons Safer Through Technology

NCJ Number
Corrections Today Dated: April 2003 Pages: 26,28
Date Published
April 2003
2 pages

This article presents various technological innovations brought to the criminal justice field through the research and partnership efforts of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ).


NIJ's mission is to improve the Nation's criminal justice system through the use of science and technology. NIJ funds science and technology initiatives that offer promising solutions to challenges faced by correctional and law enforcement agencies. This article offers accounts of some of the technological innovations brought to the field through NIJ's partnerships with State and local agencies and practitioners. One example is the research and development projects that are currently offering practical solutions to enhance jail and prison security. Through a partnership with Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), NIJ is exploring technological solutions to reducing the production of handcrafted weapons within prisons and jails. APL is attempting to develop alternative materials or manufacturing processes that will make commonly found items in prisons difficult to fashion into weapons. Another technological innovation is the use of telemedicine, which allows off-site medical professionals to make routine decisions about inmate care via closed-circuit television, which in turn reduces prison health care costs. In addition to developing technological solutions to correctional and law enforcement problems, NIJ works to keep law enforcement professionals informed about new and emerging technologies, tools, and best practices. The innovative use of technology continues to improve the effective management and safety of correctional institutions while reducing costs.

Date Published: April 1, 2003