Contraband Detection and Other Facility Operations and Population Services

Contraband Detection

Analysis of Managed Access Technology in an Urban Deployment: Baltimore City Jail Complex, Engility Corporation,2016

Managed access, as a category of technology, has become an increasingly significant tool for denying illegal inmate use of cellular telephone services. This report is the second of a set of reports examining the impact of managed access technology on contraband cell phone use in prisons. The focus of this report is the use of Distributed Antenna System (DAS) Technology, deployed in support of cellular Managed Access System (MAS) use in an urban correctional facility—the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DSPCS) Baltimore City Complex. This report builds on technical information in a previous assessment of MAS, which described operation of managed access technology deployed in a rural correctional facility.

A Case Study of Mississippi State Penitentiary’s Managed Access Technology – 2016

This case study seeks to provide corrections administrators and policy-makers with information describing managed access technology, its deployment, and relevant data on cell phone transmissions captured by a managed access system.  Also discussed are the challenges associated with deployment and operations of managed access technology in a correctional setting.

Eyes in the skies: The Latest threat to correctional institution security

The Nov/Dec issue of Corrections Today features a story on the threats to security that can be posed by unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Authors Todd R. Craig, Federal Bureau of Prisons, and Joe Russo and John S. Shaffer of JTIC discuss the growing impact that UAS can have on security as the numbers and popularity of recreational and commercial devices increase. The article is posted with the permission of the American Correctional Association. Find more information about this topic and other correctional issues at the ACA web site

Body Cavity Screening for Criminal Justice: Market Survey — NLECTC Sensor, Surveillance and Biometric Technologies Center of Excellence, 2014
This report identifies commercially available scanners that can detect contraband inside body cavities and discusses the technologies used by these products. Technological limitations pertaining to the type of materials detected and/or the ability to detect contraband inside body cavities are also discussed.

The Efficacy of Managed Access Systems to Intercept Calls from Contraband Cell Phones in California Prisons — California Council on Science and Technology, 2012 (PDF)
This report analyzes the issue of contraband cell phones in general and evaluates one particular technological approach to managing contraband cell phone use: Managed Access Systems (MAS).

NLECTC Corrections Technology Center of Excellence, 2014 — Cell Phone Forensics in a Correctional Setting Guidebook (PDF)
This guidebook provides correctional administrators with a brief, yet comprehensive and informative, view of cell phone forensic technologies. It also addresses the opportunities and challenges involved in selecting technologies and implementing them in correctional settings. 

Test and Evaluation of Hand-held Cell Phone Detection Devices — NLECTC Corrections Technology Center of Excellence, 2015.
This report presents the result of an operational test and evaluation of four hand-held cellphone detectors in a correctional setting. Criminal justice personnel may request a copy by sending an email to
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Contraband Cell Phones in Prisons: Possible Wireless Technology Solutions — National Telecommunications and Information Administration, 2010 (PDF)
This NTIA report investigates and evaluates wireless jamming, managed access, detection and other technologies that might be used to prevent contraband cell phone use by prison inmates.

Improved Evaluations and Increased Coordination Could Improve Cell Phone Detection — Government Accountability Office, 2011 (PDF)
This report examines issues related to contraband cell phone use in correctional facilities to include the impact of telephone rates on the prevalence of this contraband, number of cell phones confiscated and technologies evaluated to detect and/or defeat contraband cell phone use.

Correctional Education

Educational Technology in Corrections — U.S. Department of Education, 2015
This policy brief looks broadly at the challenges in and opportunities for expanding and improving educational services for incarcerated individuals through the use of educational technology, and empowering teachers and learners in correctional settings.

Addressing the Technology Challenge in Correctional Education (Video) — U.S. Department of Education, RTI International, 2015

How Effective Is Correctional Education, and Where Do We Go from Here? The Results of a Comprehensive Evaluation — Rand Corporation, 2014
This report assesses the effectiveness of correctional education for both incarcerated adults and juveniles, presents the results of a survey of U.S. state correctional education directors, and offers recommendations for improving correctional education.

Reentry Myth Buster: On Education Technology in Juvenile Facilities — Council of State Governments, 2014 (PDF)
This brief challenges the myth that juvenile correctional facilities that want to expand youth access to technology must be willing to compromise the security of the facility and the safety of detained youth.

Green Technologies

Green Corrections: Resources for Criminal Justice Professionals and Community Partners: Annotated Bibliography — National Institute of Corrections, 2014 (PDF)
This annotated bibliography includes resources for those interested in developing new green programs or improving the maintenance of existing ones. Resources listed are suitable for all correctional facilities as well as for their partners in the education and social service fields.

Greening Corrections Technology Guidebook — NLECTC Corrections Technology Center of Excellence, 2011 (PDF)
This guidebook provides correctional administrators with a brief, yet comprehensive and informative, view of sustainability-oriented green technologies. It reviews green technologies’ evolving role in correctional institutions and presents issues to consider when acquiring and implementing green technologies.

The Greening of Corrections: Creating a Sustainable System — National Institute of Corrections, 2011 (PDF)

This publication was developed to help correctional professionals understand how to: 1) build or transform correctional agencies into self-sustaining facilities, 2) identify green job training programs for prisoners and 3) make prison industry products, jobs and services more environmentally friendly.

Body Cameras

Body-Worn Cameras for Criminal Justice: Market Survey — NLECTC Sensor, Surveillance, and Biometrics Center of Excellence, 2014 (PDF)
This market survey report aggregates and summarizes information on commercial BWCs to aid criminal justice practitioners who are considering planning, acquisition and implementation of the technology in their agency.

The Technology Advantage: Using Shoulder Mounted Cameras Within a Detention Facility — National Institute of Corrections, 2013 (PDF)
This article describes the use of shoulder-mounted body cameras for special operations officers in a county jail.

Video Visitation

Closing the Distance: The Impact of Video Visits in Washington State Prisons – Vera Institute of Justice – 2017

This study examines the impact of video visiting in Washington on incarcerated people’s in-prison behavior and analyzes their experience with the service.  The principal finding was that using the service had a positive impact on the number of in-person visits the video visit users received. Video visit users had the most in-person visits both before and after introduction of the service, suggesting that those with strong social bonds tend to sustain them in as many ways as possible. Researchers found no significant correlation between video visiting and people’s in-prison behavior, as measured by the number of infractions they committed during the period under study.  Overall, the analysis revealed that nearly half of the people in Washington’s prisons do not have visitors of any kind.  Those who used the video visiting service despite its costs and limitations told poignant stories of its benefits: the opportunity for parents and children to bond, the possibility for people in prison to show their families and friends that they are doing well and the chance to talk in a setting less stressful than a prison.

Ada County Sheriff's Office Inmate Video Visitation Program Evaluation (2016)

This evaluation, conducted by Boise State University, evaluated 1) the implementation of the video visitation program at the Ada County Jail and 2) whether the program has been effective in achieving its intended objectives.

The Changing Nature of Correctional Visitation: Can Video Visitation Provide the Same Benefits as In-Person Visits? (2016)

This article discusses the evidence-based findings on correctional visitations as well as the goals of an NIJ-funded study to examine the potential of video visitation in replicating conventional, in-facility visits.

A New Role for Technology? Implementing Video Visitation in Prison – Vera Institute of Justice (2016)

This report examines the current landscape of video visitation in prisons nationwide and offers a detailed case study of an early adopter, Washington State.

Video Visiting in Corrections: Benefits, Limitations, and Implementation Considerations — National Institute of Corrections, 2015 (PDF)
This guide will address the importance of visitation, introduce video visiting as a resource (ideally in concert with in-person visitation), discuss implementation of video visiting, address the importance of setting up a process and outcome evaluation of visiting programs, and provide a set of resources for agencies interested in introducing or enhancing their current visiting capacity.


Evaluation Design for the District of Columbia Department of Corrections’ Use of Radio Frequency Identification RFID) Technology with Jail Inmates — RAND Corporation, 2008 (PDF)
This report represents a research design that could be used to evaluate the implementation of RFID within a major urban jail setting: the District of Columbia Department of Corrections (DC DOC). The research design is broken out into three major study components: (1) process evaluation; (2) outcomes trend analysis; and (3) analyses of categories of costs and benefits.

Tracking Inmates and Locating Staff with Active Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) Early Lessons Learned in One U.S. Correctional Facility — RAND Corporation, 2010 (PDF)
This report identifies and describes the universe of all correctional institutions in the United States that have purchased or installed active RFID systems and provides an objective source of information about the advantages and the challenges of using RFID in correctional settings.

Drug & Alcohol Testing

Evaluating A Presumptive Drug Testing Technology in Community Corrections Settings- Justice & Security Strategies, Inc. – 2012  (PDF)
This report describes a multi-site evaluation of a presumptive drug detection technology (PDDT) to determine whether an individual has come into contact with an illegal substance. The PDDT examined aerosol sprays tested with specialized paper that reacts with trace elements of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana. The major goal of the evaluation was to determine whether the PDDT has a place in the field of community corrections. This evaluation asked: 1. Will this technology increase agencies' success in identifying offenders and/or settings that have been exposed to drugs? 2. Does the technology help to decrease the overall cost of drug testing (i.e., less use of urine analysis)? 3. What is the overall cost/effectiveness of using this product?

Joe Russo,
Corrections Technology Coordinator