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Duress Systems in Corrections Facilities

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2004
4 pages

This bulletin briefly reviews the use of duress systems in corrections facilities.


A duress system, which generally comprises a network of portable and mounted transmitters and receivers linked to a command center console, allows corrections personnel to signal to the command center that help is needed with just the push of a button. These systems allow for a rapid and effective response to problems in corrections facilities by allowing the location and nature of a problem to be instantly pinpointed. The National Institute of Justice and the U.S. Department of Defense collaborated on the Staff Alarm and Inmate Tracking (SAINT) program, which researches duress systems for use in corrections facilities and offers guidelines for implementing the technologies. Based on vendor information received by the SAINT program, three types of systems are currently available for commercial sale: Panic Button Alarm, Identification Alarm, and Identification/Location Alarm. A brief description is offered of each type, followed by an explanation of their limitations. More information can be found in the full report entitled, Correctional Officer Duress Systems: Selection Guide, NCJ-202947.

Date Published: September 1, 2004