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The Role of Equipment Performance Standards in Correctional Settings

NCJ Number
NIJ Journal Issue: 278 Dated: February 2017
Date Published
February 2017
4 pages
Publication Series
After reviewing the rationale for equipment performance standards in correctional settings, this article describes the development of a standard for offender tracking systems (OTSs), OTS equipment test methods, the OTS conformity assessment program, the development of an OTS Global Reference Architecture Service Specification Package (SSP), and standards for stab-resistant body armor and restraints.
The rationale for the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) development of performance standards for the distinctive equipment used by corrections agencies is to provide correctional agencies and officers with confidence in equipment performance. For OTSs, stab-resistant body armor, and restraints, NIJ has published standards that define minimum performance requirements and the test methods used to assess their performance. NIJ has also established conformity-assessment programs that define the requirements and methods needed to ensure that equipment meets the standards. Together, the standards and compliance testing ensure a minimum level of quality in those products. This enables agencies to compare different types of products against a common set of benchmarks. As it developed the OTS standards, NIJ also identified a need for a specification that allows data-sharing between OTSs. A challenge occurs when an agency ends its contractual relationship with one OTS vendor and moves to another. Ideally, the agency would be able to automatically transfer data from the previous provider to the new provider's system. This would allow the agency to retain important historical data and assist in streamlining the re-enrollment process. Having a specification for data sharing would also provide a foundation for automated information sharing across jurisdictions and vendor software platforms. NIJ funded the development of the SSP, which details the models and technical components for transferring tracking information between systems.

Date Published: February 1, 2017