Magazine article Corrections Forum

12 Security Tips for Transporting Prisoners

Magazine article Corrections Forum

12 Security Tips for Transporting Prisoners

Article excerpt

Whether you are moving inmates from the local jail across town for a court appearance or transferring them across the state from one prison to another, the basic principles of good security and inmate management should always apply.

Correctional personnel move prisoners in and out of jails, to and from courts, hospitals, and prisons on a daily basis. Transporting inmates probably is one of the most dangerous, but necessary, aspects of law enforcement. Officers do it so often, without incident, that they forget actually how dangerous and career-ending a prisoner escort "that went wrong" can be. Those who ignore this true reality can risk severe injury or even death.

Corrections Forum spoke with a number of suppliers and readers for some safety tips for tactical prisoner escort and here's what they had to say:

1

THE SAFETY OF THE OFFICERS IS #1.

"You need to get prisoners from point A to point B as quickly, safely and cost effectively as you can. The safety of the officers remains paramount," says Gail J. Haithwaite, president/CEO at Great Lakes Coach, Schoolcraft, Mich. Transports start with a simple assumption: all inmates should be considered escape risks. This requires special attention to basic steps, such as thoroughly checking the vehicle and the restraints to be used during the trip. In addition, search prisoners and the vehicle properly for weapons, instruments of escape, and other types of contraband, she adds.

2

TREAT INMATES LIKE PEOPLE.

"First and foremost treat the inmates you are transporting like people," says Kraig Emery, correctional officer/instructor at Merrimack County Jail, Boscawen, N.H.

This is where your people-skills will come into play. Those skills are going to be your primary tool in de-escalating any possible situations that may occur during the trip. "Many of our transports are to the courts, doctors and dentists. Normally, the trip back to the facility could be a problem, especially if they get bad news in court. We have to deal with the aftermath of that so good people skills are important to keeping them from getting out of hand. Try to make it as comfortable for them as you can without going outside of the mandated policies and procedures. If you treat them as people, you are likely to get more respect back in the long run," he concludes.

3

MAKE THE CLIMATE IN THE VEHICLE COMFORTABLE.

"A comfortable climate in the vehicle is important to both the driver and the prisoners. Make sure that the air conditioning or heating systems are on for the prisoners in the back so they aren't uncomfortable, which might make them hostile and more difficult to handle," says Mark Sundy, technical support and product specialist at Havis, Warminister, Pa. "In speaking to our customers we've heard that simple things such as cooling the interior down or heating it up when necessary takes a little stress off the prisoner, which in turn makes them easier to handle."

Havis offers an optional electric ventilation fan which help increase airflow. The optional fans draw air through the compartment, creating a positive airflow. This will prevent foul odors from building up in the vehicle. He notes: "We do not recommend systems that blow air from the driver's compartment into the rear compartments. This method has proven to be inadequate and, for a few extra dollars, you can get a system that does the job without making the driver and prisoners uncomfortable."

4

KNOW THE ENVIRONMENT YOU ARE TRAVELING TO.

"Always check the route and be aware of your environment once you get there. Check on prisoner's background and threat level along with destination along route of travel prior to escorting them anywhere. Officers should observe their surroundings, in case they are being followed. Exercise greater alertness on arriving at the destination, which is often the most dangerous part of the trip," says N.H. CO. Emery.

5

KEEP A LOW PROFILE ON THE ROAD. …

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