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Commandos Stay Ready - Nachshon: The Israeli Prison Service Special Operations Unit

NCJ Number
Corrections Technology & Management Volume: 2 Issue: 3 Dated: March 1998 Pages: 38-43
S M Katz
Date Published
6 pages
The special response team of the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), referred to as Nachshon, is an innovative unit in its application of special warfare tactics to the field of corrections.
The IPS is responsible for supervising individuals sentenced to varying imprisonment terms in accordance with Israeli law. In addition, the IPS is responsible for all aspects of inmate treatment and attempts to rehabilitate inmates so they can return to mainstream society. The IPS oversees 15 correctional facilities and 3 detention centers throughout Israel. Founded in 1973, primary missions of Nachshon include riot prevention and the rescue of hostages taken in prison uprisings. Nachshon teams are centrally located about 10 miles southeast of Tel Aviv and are on permanent standby to respond to the first sign of any prison trouble. The unit is divided in 10 teams of 10 officers whose equipment is color-coded by team. All Nachshon officers are reachable by means of a sophisticated pager and a cellular telephone system. Employing a small arsenal of breaching tools, Nachshon teams can enter almost any barricaded and fortified area. To neutralize violent inmates, tear gas canisters are tossed into cells and plexiglass shields are then placed over cell openings to prevent the canisters from being tossed back out. Nachshon officers are trained to use deadly force as an absolute final option in the execution of their mission; they routinely train in the art of repelling an ambush; and they are frequently dispatched to prisons to search for hidden weapons, drugs, and other intelligence material that might help uncover a major plan for a disturbance or an escape. 3 photographs