U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Court Security and the Transportation of Prisoners

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 1997
4 pages
Publication Series
This study assessed the current state of the art in court security and the transportation of prisoners.

The study's three surveys determined that the safety of personnel transporting and monitoring prisoners in the courtroom is the most pressing concern. The majority of probation and parole agents surveyed believe uniformed officers should transport prisoners, even though most of the respondents have been required to do the transporting as part of their official duties. Although transporting male adults, female adults, male juveniles, and female juveniles requires different guidelines, fewer than half the respondents have ever received special or refresher training in prisoner transportation. Respondents indicated that most agencies do not have vehicles that are specially equipped to transport prisoners; and over half of the agencies represented do not allow agents to perform gender-appropriate strip searches. Rules or procedures exist in several jurisdictions that govern the transportation of prisoners, but there are no national regulations. The study recommends that the first step in increasing security for the transportation of prisoners should be the implementation of a "dangerousness" classification for prisoners being transported. This would enable security officers to perform the proper levels of care, custody, control, and supervision. Other recommendations are to provide hand-held radios for all transport personnel and to establish a statewide or regional radio frequency so that assistance can be summoned quickly in an emergency. Regarding court security, the study concludes that a key aspect of security involves providing physical mechanisms for safe passage inside and outside court facilities. Consideration should be given to using structural features and controlled access devices. Specific suggestions are offered. Recommendations for personnel education and training regarding security measures and procedures are also offered. Study methodology included interviews and questionnaires administered to court security, probation, parole, and sheriffs' personnel nationwide. A listing of selected NIJ publications about courts, crime prevention through environmental design, and victimization and violence

Date Published: July 1, 1997