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Managed Access Technology To Combat Contraband Cell Phones in Prison: Findings From a Process Evaluation

NCJ Number
Evaluation and Program Planning Volume: 66 Dated: 2018 Pages: 39-47
Date Published
February 2018
9 pages

This study offers a foundational process evaluation of managed access, a technology that utilizes cellular signals to capture transmissions from contraband phones, drawing upon output measures and stakeholder interviews to identify salient operational challenges and subsequent lessons learned about implementing and maintaining a managed access system.


Cell phones in correctional facilities have emerged as one of the most pervasive forms of modern contraband. This issue has been identified as a top priority for many correctional administrators in the United States. Managed access has received notable attention as a promising tool to combat this problem; however, this technology has received little evaluative attention. The findings of the current evaluation of managed access suggests that although it captures large volumes of contraband cellular transmissions, the technology requires significant implementation planning, personnel support, and complex partnerships with commercial cellular carriers. Lessons learned provide guidance for practitioners to navigate these challenges and for scholars to improve future evaluations of managed access. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: February 1, 2018