This article discusses the features of the draft version for a revised standard that will update minimum requirements for stab resistance of personal body armor, which has special relevance for corrections officers, who face threats from inmates who have fashioned improvised stab weapons from objects or materials at their disposal.
The National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the research and development arm of the U.S. Justice Department, is in the process of updating NIJ Standard-0115.00, which was adapted in 2000 from a United Kingdom standard that addressed the threat from commercially made knives. The draft revision of the standard (0115.01) addresses body armor panels intended to provide protection against the types of knife and spike threats that corrections officers face daily, and it adds testing specific to female body armor models. A Special Technical Committee that includes corrections practitioners from multiple agencies reviewed the research and provided real world input into developing the draft revision. The envisioned standard will be more applicable to the environments in which many corrections officer work, while maintaining the commercial threat protection level for officers who work in uncontrolled environments. Both commercial and improvised tests of body armor against the standard will include knife and spike tests identified by the Special Technical Committee as representing prevalent threats, and female armor will be tested to ensure any stitching or forming of the bust cups continues to meet the same required level of protection afforded by unshaped armor. A draft for public comment is expected to be released later in 2016.