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Good Day for a Riot

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2007
4 pages
This article evaluates the Mock Prison Riot, an annual training event sponsored by Office of Law Enforcement Technology Commercialization (OLETC), a program of the Office of Justice Programs' National Institute of Justice (NIJ).
In the last 11 years, the Mock Prison Riot has proven to be a unique learning tool for corrections officers, and has earned a positive reputation in both the domestic and international law enforcement community. Every spring since 1997, the former West Virginia State Penitentiary provides the location site for the Mock Prison Riot, a real life crisis management scenario for correctional tactical teams. In a few days of training, tactical teams face serious challenges in the scenarios, and attempt to quickly resolve incidents while keeping staff and inmate injuries to a minimum. In resolving the scenarios, the teams rely not only on their training, but also on new and emerging public safety technologies. Law enforcement and correctional tactical personnel train using the technologies, and provide real-world feedback to developers and manufacturers. This year, participants trained in a new riot feature: the Area for Practical and Realistic Training (APARTment), a mockup of a two-story house with a number of rooms, hallways, windows, and a stairway where a variety of hostage scenarios were conducted. A second new scenario was added specifically for law enforcement; law enforcement officers raided a simulated crack house, and participated in a workshop on making decisions under extreme stress. The training also provided more than 70 no-cost workshops, some of which offered participants free certification. The event also featured 85 vendors whose products included: officer protections products, less-lethal weapons, through-the-wall surveillance, night vision equipment, crowd control devices, robots, biometrics, alarms systems, and prisoner restraint systems. The next Mock Prison Riot is scheduled for May 11-14, 2008. Administrators who cannot send their tactical teams to the Mock Prison Riot can take advantage of year-round training offered through the National Corrections and Law Enforcement Training and Technology Center (NCLETC).