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UNODC, Handbook on Dynamic Security and Prison Intelligence, 2015

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Handbook on
Dynamic Security and
Prison Intelligence

CRIMINAL JUSTICE HANDBOOK SERIES

Cover images: Left and right: ©Photodisc.com, Centre: ©Neil Chapman

UNITED NATIONS OFFICE ON DRUGS AND CRIME
Vienna

Handbook on
Dynamic Security and Prison Intelligence

CRIMINAL JUSTICE HANDBOOK SERIES

UNITED NATIONS
New York, 2015

© United Nations, December 2015. All rights reserved worldwide.
The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not
imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the
United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area, or
of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.
This publication has not been formally edited.
Publishing production: English, Publishing and Library Section, United Nations
Office at Vienna.

Acknowledgements
This Handbook was prepared for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
(UNODC) by Prof. Dr. Shane Bryans, consultant on penal reform and criminal
justice. Wayne Bastin (Regional Fusion and Law Enforcement Centre for Safety and
Security at Sea) and John Wilcox (UNODC) made a significant contribution to the
development of the Handbook by drafting material for inclusion into the chapters
on prison intelligence and by providing invaluable comments on earlier drafts of the
Handbook.
Contributing throughout the development of the Handbook were Piera Barzanò,
Shanaka Jayasekara, Joanne Jousif and Philipp Meissner (UNODC). Some of the
material included in the Handbook is based on earlier work produced by Tomris
Atabay and Danny McAllister. The Handbook was proofread by Loraine Rossati.

iii

Contents
Acknowledgements .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	iii
Introduction.  ..  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	1
Who the Handbook is for .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
 .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	1
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	1
What the Handbook covers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Why a handbook?
. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	3
handbook?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Treating all prisoners with humanity
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	3
humanity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Least restrictive measures necessary
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	5
necessary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Balancing types of security measures
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	5
measures. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Special maximum security .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
 .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	6
Importance of prison intelligence
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	7
intelligence. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Applying the Handbook
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	8
Handbook. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Chapter 1.  Prison security: framework and functions.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	9
Physical security
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	9
security. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Procedural security
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	12
security. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Assessment and categorization
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
categorization. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Accounting and control .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
 .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
Searching .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
 .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

	13
	17

	18
Communications and surveillance .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
 .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	21
Prison security framework .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
 .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	23
Managing security at prison level
. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	23
level. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Security audits .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
 .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	24
Covert testing
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	26
testing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Concentric circles of protection
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	26
protection. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Chapter 2.  Dynamic security. ..  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
Essential elements of dynamic security .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
 .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
Professional and constructive relationships with prisoners
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
prisoners. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

	29
	29

	31
Interpersonal skills
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	32
skills. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Staff selection and training
. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	32
training. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
v

Embedding dynamic security in operational policy .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
 .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	34
Unit management and direct supervision
supervision. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	35
Gathering information .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
 .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	36
Prevention of staff corruption and manipulation
manipulation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	37
Constructive activities for prisoners
prisoners. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	38
Chapter 3. Prison intelligence: definitions, governance
Chapter 3. Prison intelligence: definitions, governance
and organization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  	43
and organization .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	43
Importance of prison intelligence.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	43
Importance of prison intelligence. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 	43
Definitions .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	44
Definitions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 	44
Intelligence policy and organization.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	47
Intelligence policy and organization. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 	47
Putting in place effective safeguards. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	49
Putting in place effective safeguards. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 	49
A multi-agency approach .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	50
A multi-agency approach. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 	50
Prison-based police intelligence officers.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	52
Prison-based police intelligence officers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 	52
Covert surveillance.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	52
Covert surveillance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 	52
Use of prisoner informants. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	54
Use of prisoner informants. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 	54
Chapter 4.  Prison intelligence: cycle, process and components . . . . . . . . . .  	57
Chapter
4. (also
Prison
intelligence:
cycle,
	57
Tasking
known
as directing)
.  .  .  .process
 .  .  .  .  .  .  .and
 .  .  .  .components
 .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  ..  . .  . .  . .  . .  . .  . .  . .  . . . . 	58
Tasking (also
Collection
.  .  .  . known
 .  .  .  .  .  .as
 .  . directing)
 .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
 .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
Collection. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Evaluation
. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

	58
	59
	59
	63

Evaluation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Collation
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
Collation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Analysis
. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

	63
	65
	65
	65

Analysis. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Dissemination
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
Dissemination. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Re-evaluation
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

	65
	67
	67
	68

Re-evaluation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 	68
Annexes
1.  Security information report: template and guidance for completion.  .  .  .  . 	69
Annexes
2. 
brief: template
guidance
completion
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 	77
1.  Intelligence
Security information
report:and
template
andfor
guidance
for completion. . . . .
	69
2.  Intelligence brief: template and guidance for completion . . . . . . . . . . . . . 	77

vi

Introduction
Who the Handbook is for
This Handbook is one of a series of tools developed by UNODC to support countries in the implementation of the rule of law and the development of criminal justice
reform. It is designed to be used by all actors involved in the prison system, including
policymakers, legislators, prison managers, prison intelligence officers and prison
staff. Members of other law enforcement bodies, non-governmental organizations
and other individuals interested or active in the field of criminal justice and prison
reform may find it of interest. It can be used in a variety of contexts, both as a
reference document and as a training tool.

What the Handbook covers
The theme of the Handbook is prison security—the means by which escapes and
other crimes are prevented. Its main focus is on the contribution made by dynamic
security and highlights one particular element of dynamic security—prison intelligence1—which provides important intelligence for use within the prison to prevent
escapes and maintain order and control. Prison intelligence can also be used more
widely by criminal justice, law enforcement and security bodies and agencies to
prevent prisoners from within the prison directing criminal activity taking place outside the prison. For example, conducting organized crime-related activities, terrorist
or gang activity, drug trafficking, intimidating or corrupting witnesses, judiciary,
­lawyers or jurors.
Chapter 1 describes the three key elements in the prison security framework—physical
security, procedural security and dynamic security—and sets those within the context
of international human rights instruments. It makes clear that effective security and
human rights are compatible and both can be delivered within a well-managed prison.
The four main high-level security functions (categorization and assessment, accounting and control, searching, communications and surveillance) are described, and
related objectives and baselines identified. The importance of security risk assessment
and security risk indicators is also explored.
1 
While the term “intelligence” can have negative associations in some jurisdictions, it is now commonly used
across law enforcement agencies and prison administrations in most Member States.

1

2

HANDBOOK ON DYNAMIC SECURITY AND PRISON INTELLIGENCE

Dynamic security and the importance of staff directly supervising and engaging with
prisoners is the focus of chapter 2. It highlights the need for staff to communicate
with prisoners, have regular contact with prisoners, establish professional relationships
and involve themselves in prisoners’ daily lives. The importance of preventing the
conditioning and manipulation of staff is explored. The second part of the chapter
emphasizes another element of dynamic security—putting in place a programme of
constructive activities that provides prisoners with opportunities to change and
develop, gain qualifications, and maintain their health and intellectual and social
functioning. It makes the point that such programmes contribute to prison security
by keeping prisoners active and occupied.
Chapter 3 focuses on defining what is meant by intelligence, before going on to
explain the rationale for intelligence gathering in prisons. It describes types of intelligence and provides definitions for key terms used by intelligence practitioners. The
chapter looks at the policy and organization required for an effective intelligence
operation in prisons. It goes on to describe the role and function of a Prisons Intelligence Unit. The need for having effective safeguards in place is highlighted. The
issues of internal and external coordination are explored and the importance of
multi-agency working emphasized. The role and benefits of having prison-based
police intelligence officers is discussed. The use of covert surveillance measures and
prisoner informers involves a careful balancing of a prisoner’s rights against the need
to investigate serious criminality and is considered at the end of the chapter.
The final chapter, chapter 4, outlines the intelligence cycle, its components and
principles. It describes in detail the key elements of the intelligence cycle: tasking,
collection, evaluation, collation, analysis, dissemination and re-evaluation. Examples
of various intelligence-related template forms are provided in the annexes.
This Handbook considers the challenges faced by prison managers in running secure
prisons and the importance of good quality intelligence in ensuring that the prison
is safe, well ordered and that prisoners held within it are not directing criminal
activity outside the prison. The intention of the Handbook is to complement existing
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), United Nations Department
of Peacekeeping Operations (UNDPKO) and the Office of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) publications which provide more
detailed consideration of specific themes and prisoner groups.2 It must be emphasized
that this Handbook does not cover the detail of prison security management or
operations and is not intended as a security manual.
Further information on managing prison security and high security prisoners can be
found in the UNODC Handbook on Managing High-Risk Prisoners.

2 
UNODC: Handbook for Prison Leaders; Handbook on Prisoner File Management; Handbook on Prisoners with
Special Needs; Handbook on Women and Imprisonment. UNDPKO: Prison Incident Management Handbook. OHCHR:
Human Rights and Prisons (Manual on Human Rights Training for Prison Officials; Compilation of International Human
Rights Instruments concerning the Administration of Justice; Trainer’s Guide on Human Rights Training for Prison Officials;
Pocket Book of International Human Rights Standards for Prison Officials). See also, International Centre for Prison
Studies: A Human Rights Approach to Prison Management (second edition).

INTRODUCTION

Why a handbook?
The credibility of any prison system rests on its ability to keep prisoners in custody—in other words, to prevent them from escaping and from committing further
crimes while in custody. This is a fundamental activity of prison management as it
protects the public from further criminal acts; contributes to giving the public, media
and politicians confidence in the rule of law and the criminal justice system; and
enables prisoners to benefit from rehabilitation activities provided within the prison
system. The consequences of failure can be severe. There have been instances where
prisoners in custody and escaped prisoners have perpetrated acts of terrorism, murdered and seriously injured members of the public and law enforcement personnel,
or committed other serious criminal activity.
Prison security refers not only to the means by which escapes are prevented but also
to measures that are necessary to stop high-risk prisoners from directing criminal
activity taking place outside the prison. Such criminal activity may include conducting
organized crime, directing terrorist or gang activity, organizing drug trafficking, and
seeking to intimidate or corrupt witnesses, judiciary, lawyer or jurors.
Maintaining a proper balance between security measures and obligations enshrined
in international law, namely that all prisoners’ fundamental human rights are respected
and that they are treated accordingly, can be a challenge for prison administrators
when faced with prisoners who are determined to escape and commit crime.
“Secure prisons are essential to making our justice system an effective weapon against crime.
When prisoners—convicted or awaiting trial—are entrusted to your care, they must know and
the public must know that they will remain there until they are legally discharged …
The full contribution which our prisons can make towards a permanent reduction in the country’s
crime-rate lies also in the way in which they treat prisoners. We cannot emphasise enough the
importance of both professionalism and respect for human rights.”
— Nelson R. Mandela (Speaking to the South African Department of Correctional Services, 1998)

Treating all prisoners with humanity
A fundamental principle set out in international law and all relevant international
standards relating to the treatment of prisoners is that their treatment should be
humane and respect the inherent rights and dignity of the human person.3 Torture,
and inhuman and degrading treatment is prohibited under international law with
respect to all prisoners, including those who are considered to be high security. Prison
administrations cannot invoke any circumstances whatsoever as a justification to use
torture or ill-treatment.4
3 
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 10; United Nations Standard Minimum Rules
for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules), Rules 1 and 5(1); Body of Principles for the Protection
of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, Principles 1 and 6; European Prison Rules, Rules 1
and 72.1; Principles and Best Practices on the Protection of People Deprived of Liberty in the Americas, Principle I;
Kampala Declaration on Prison Conditions in Africa, Recommendations 1-3; Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)3 of
the Committee of Ministers to member States  concerning dangerous offenders, Adopted by the Committee of
Ministers on 19 February 2014 at the 1192nd meeting of the Ministers” Deputies, para. 3.
4 
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Punishment (CAT), Articles 2 and 16;
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 7; Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article  5;
United Nations SMRs (the Nelson Mandela Rules), Rule 1.

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HANDBOOK ON DYNAMIC SECURITY AND PRISON INTELLIGENCE

Treating prisoners with humanity does not hinder security and order in prisons but,
on the contrary, is fundamental to ensuring that prisons are secure and safe. Good
practice in prison management has shown that when the human rights and dignity
of prisoners are respected and they are treated fairly, they are much less likely to
cause disruption and disorder and to more readily accept the authority of prison staff.
United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 3
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Article 10
All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the
inherent dignity of the human person.
United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners
(the Nelson Mandela Rules)
Rule 1
All prisoners shall be treated with the respect due to their inherent dignity and value as human
beings. No prisoner shall be subjected to, and all prisoners shall be protected from, torture and
other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, for which no circumstances whatsoever may be invoked as a justification. The safety and security of prisoners, staff, service providers
and visitors shall be ensured at all times.
Rule 36
Discipline and order shall be maintained with no more restriction than is necessary to ensure safe
custody, the secure operation of the prison and a well-ordered community life.
Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials
Article 2
In the performance of their duties, law enforcement officials shall respect and protect human
dignity and maintain and uphold the human rights of all persons.
European Prison Rules
Rule 49
Good order in prison shall be maintained by taking into account the requirements of security,
safety and discipline, while also providing prisoners with living conditions which respect human
dignity and offering them a full programme of activities in accordance with Rule 25.
Principles And Best Practices On The Protection Of Persons Deprived Of Liberty In
The  Americas
Principle I
All persons subject to the jurisdiction of any Member State of the Organization of American States
shall be treated humanely, with unconditional respect for their inherent dignity, fundamental rights
and guarantees, and strictly in accordance with international human rights instruments.
In particular, and taking into account the special position of the States as guarantors regarding
persons deprived of liberty, their life and personal integrity shall be respected and ensured, and
they shall be afforded minimum conditions compatible with their dignity.
They shall be protected from any kind of threats and acts of torture, execution, forced disappearance, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, sexual violence, corporal punishment,
collective punishment, forced intervention or coercive treatment, from any method intended to
obliterate their personality or to diminish their physical or mental capacities.

INTRODUCTION

Some limitations on certain rights may, however, be necessary and legitimate to
maintain security. Additional security measures may be required to ensure that prisoners do not escape and that they do not cause harm to themselves or others in
prison. However, these limitations and additional measures should never go as far
as undermining the dignity and humanity of prisoners.

Least restrictive measures necessary
A fundamental principle of good prison management is that prisoners should be
subject to the least restrictive measures necessary for the protection of the public, other
prisoners and staff.5 Restrictions placed on prisoners’ rights should adhere to the
principles of legality, necessity, proportionality, accountability and non-­discrimination.
All limitations imposed upon a prisoner should be in accordance with national law
and have a legitimate objective. The measures must be necessary—i.e. it should be
very clear that using less restrictive means would not fulfil the objective of ensuring
safety and security. All restrictive measures should be proportional to the risk posed,
with an appropriate balance between the protection of the fundamental rights of the
prisoner and the State’s lawful interference in the exercise of these rights. Such
interference should be the least intrusive possible to fulfil the aim of ensuring security
and order in prison and should be imposed for the shortest possible duration. Finally,
decisions should be objective and impartial, taking into account only the relevant
factors. There should be no discrimination against certain groups of prisoners, based
on race, colour, religion, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, political
views or any other factor.6 Security measures applied to all prisoners should be
reviewed and, as necessary, revised regularly.
The number of prisoners who present a genuine risk of escape, and who require
these additional measures, is usually quite small and it is important that only those
prisoners who have been assessed to belong to this category are held in high-security
conditions. This principle requires a proper risk assessment on admission to prison
in order to decide the most appropriate security level for each prisoner. It also
requires regular reviews, so that prisoners whose behaviour no longer represents a
risk are reallocated to less restrictive conditions.

Balancing types of security measures
There should also be an appropriate balance between the different types of security
measures implemented. Security in prisons is ensured by physical means of security,
such as walls, bars on windows, locks and doors, alarm systems and so on; by procedural means, which are procedures that must be followed, such as rules relating
to prisoners’ movement around the prison, the possessions they may keep, searches
5 
United Nations SMRs (the Nelson Mandela Rules), Rule 36; European Prison Rules, Rules 3 and18.10;
Recommendation CM/Rec (20143 of the Committee of Ministers of member States concerning dangerous offenders
(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 19 February 2014), para. 4.
6 
See CPT Standards 2002 (Rev 2013), para. 55 for a discussion of the PLANN test (Proportionate, Lawful,
Accountable, Necessary, Non-discriminatory) in relation to solitary confinement decisions. See also Explanatory
Memorandum to Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)3 of the Committee of Ministers to member States  concerning
dangerous offenders, Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 19 February 2014 at the 1192nd meeting of the
Ministers” Deputies, paras. 52-54.

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of prisoners and their accommodation, among others; and dynamic security, which
requires an alert staff who interact with prisoners in a positive manner and engage
them in constructive activities, allowing staff to anticipate and prevent problems
before they arise.
A proper balance should be maintained between the physical, procedural and dynamic
security in the case of all prisoners, including high-risk prisoners. The right balance
to prevent escape and maintain order will depend on a number of factors such as
the condition of the prison facilities, the level of technology available, the number
of staff and type of prisoners being held. For example, where physical security is
weak (as may be the case in low-resource and post-conflict environments), procedural
and dynamic security becomes all the more important.
In some jurisdictions, excessive attention is placed on the physical and procedural
aspects of security in the case of high-security prisoners, while the importance of
dynamic security is not appreciated. In some prison systems, staff interaction with
high-security prisoners is actively discouraged. In fact, as this Handbook will emphasize, the principles of dynamic security apply particularly to high-security prisoners
to ensure that potential escapes, incidents, and threats to safety of others can be
prevented and dealt with before they take place. Applying this balance correctly, in
the case of high-security prisoners, is a measure of the professionalism of a prison
administration.

“Dynamic security means that basic grade prison staff are trained and encouraged to develop
good personal relationships with prisoners, to know and understand them as individuals, to provide
sympathetic help with personal problems and to engage in meaningful dialogues with them.
Prisoners have their most frequent and continuing contacts with the basic grade staff. The nature
of their daily interactions with this grade of staff greatly influences their behaviour and attitudes.
Positive interactions tend to reduce destructive behaviour and attitudes and facilitate constructive
work with prisoners. In addition, dynamic security permits the staff to become more easily aware
of disturbing prisoner behaviour such as escape attempts, violence between prisoners or against
staff, the smuggling of prohibited goods, etc.
Dynamic security … offers the possibility of providing warning information before some untoward
incident has taken place. This allows prison staff to take preventive action to hinder the threatening
incident from occurring.”
Management by Prison Administrations of Life-Sentence and Other Long-Term Prisoners, Recommendation REC (2003)23,
Adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 9 October 2003, para. 73.

Special maximum security
In every jurisdiction, there is likely to be a number of prisoners who are considered
to represent a particularly high-security risk and therefore require being held in
special maximum-security conditions. If the assessment system is working effectively,
the proportion of prisoners who need to be held in such special conditions should
be very small. Such prisoners are usually accommodated away from other prisoners,
either in special high-security prisons or in special units within prisons with different

INTRODUCTION

security levels. In many jurisdictions, severe restrictions are placed on the rights of
such prisoners, in addition to their highly restricted custodial setting, often without
any justification. Such restrictions may apply to prisoners’ access to exercise, activities,
association with other prisoners, communication with the outside world, and personal
possessions that are allowed in cells, among other things. In some countries, such
prisoners will be shackled, handcuffed or body-belted routinely each time they leave
their cells, including when taking outdoor exercise in a secure exercise yard.
In some jurisdictions, they are held in solitary confinement for years and potentially
for the duration of their sentence, in clear breach of international standards. The
United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson
Mandela Rules), in particular, prohibit indefinite and prolonged solitary confinement,
and restrict its use to exceptional situations as a last resort, for as short a time as
possible and subject to independent review. The rules also clarify that solitary confinement shall not be imposed by virtue of a prisoner’s sentence, and never on women
and children.7 The United Nations Human Rights Committee has equally expressed
the opinion that prolonged periods of solitary confinement may amount to torture
or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.8
Good prison management principles require that the principles of legality, necessity,
accountability, proportionality and non-discrimination be applied to decisions to hold
prisoners in special maximum security conditions, based on thorough individualized
assessments. Such prisoners should, within the confines of their detention units, enjoy
a relatively relaxed regime to compensate for the additional restrictions of their custodial setting. They should be able to associate with other prisoners in their unit,
should have access to a range of prison activities and should have contact with the
outside world. Prison staff should be able to maintain security and control by means
other than prohibiting all manner of activities, which is always the easier option, but
which hinders the chances of prisoners’ rehabilitation as well as violating their rights.
Special efforts should be made to develop a good internal atmosphere within high-­
security units. Staff should be properly trained to build positive relations with prisoners, to the extent possible. This is in the interest not only of the humane treatment
of prisoners but also of the maintenance of effective control and security and of staff
safety.”9

Importance of prison intelligence
Prison intelligence is a fundamental part of effective dynamic security. The gathering
of information from prisoners, the careful observation and monitoring of prisoners
and the analysis of that information should be the bedrock of preventing escapes,
instances of disorder and criminal activity in prisons. It is always more preferable to
7 
United Nations Standard Minimum Rules (the Nelson Mandela Rules), Rules 43(1), 44-45; also see the
United Nations Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners, Principle 7; the Istanbul Protocol on the use and
effects of solitary confinement, adopted on 9 December 2007 at the International Psychological Trauma Symposium,
Istanbul; and the Report of the Special Rapporteur on Torture to the United Nations General Assembly, 5 August
2011, A/66/268, paras. 75-76, 80-81 and 84.
8 
Human Rights Committee, General Comment 20, Article 7 (1992), para. 6.
9 
United Nations Standard Minimum Rules (the Nelson Mandela Rules), Rule 76(1)(c); CPT Standards, 2002
Rev (2013), para. 32.

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HANDBOOK ON DYNAMIC SECURITY AND PRISON INTELLIGENCE

prevent an escape, riot or drug dealing than to have to deal with its aftermath. Prison
intelligence can provide that early warning and enable prison directors and their staff
to take proactive and decisive action to prevent the action from taking place as
planned and intended. This Handbook provides staff with an understanding of the
need for an intelligence function within the custodial environment and an awareness
of the intelligence techniques and products that can be used to assist them and
partner agencies to make prisons a secure and safe place.

Applying the Handbook
While it may be challenging for some of the guidelines and recommendations set
out in this Handbook to be implemented in countries with scarce resources and, in
particular, in post-conflict countries, the Handbook aims to set out the underlying
principles that need to be adhered to in applying dynamic security. Most can be
applied with few resources, provided that sufficient leadership and commitment is
present.
KEY PRINCIPLES
•	 Prisoners should always be treated with the respect due to their inherent dignity and
value as human beings. They should never be subjected to torture or ill-treatment; they
should not be humiliated and should have access to adequate material conditions, to
nutritious food, adequate water, sanitation, health care and contact with their families.
•	 The number of prisoners held in high-security conditions should be the minimum possible, based on individual risk and needs assessments.
•	 All prisoners, including high-security prisoners, should be subject to the least restrictive
measures necessary for the protection of the public, other prisoners and staff. Any
restriction placed on high-security prisoners should adhere to the principles of legality,
necessity, proportionality, accountability and non-discrimination.
•	 A balance should be maintained between the legitimate use of security measures and
respect for the fundamental human rights of prisoners. Limitations on certain rights
should never go as far as undermining their inherent dignity and value as human beings.
•	 A proper balance should be maintained between physical, procedural and dynamic
security in the case of all prisoners.
•	 Prison intelligence is a fundamental part of effective dynamic security and can help to
prevent escapes, disorder and criminality in prisons.

Chapter 1
Prison security:
framework and functions
United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners
(the Nelson Mandela Rules)
Rule 5
(1)  The prison regime should seek to minimize any differences between prison life and life at
liberty that tend to lessen the responsibility of the prisoners or the respect due to their inherent
dignity as human beings.
Rule 89
(2)  It is desirable to provide varying degrees of security according to the needs of different groups.
European Prison Rules
Rule 51
(1)  The security measures applied to individual prisoners shall be the minimum necessary to
achieve their secure custody.
Rule 53
(1)  Special high security or safety measures shall only be applied in exceptional circumstances.
(2)  There shall be clear procedures to be followed when such measures are to be applied to
any prisoner.
(3)  The nature of any such measures, their duration and the grounds on which they may be
applied shall be determined by national law.
(4)  The application of the measures in each case shall be approved by the competent authority
for a specified period of time.

Physical security
A fundamental aspect of prison security is the physical security of the institution.
Aspects of physical security include the architecture of the prison buildings, the
strength of the walls of those buildings, the bars on the windows, the doors and
walls of the accommodation units, the specifications of the perimeter wall and fences,
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watchtowers and so on. They also include the provision of physical aids to security
such as locks, cameras, alarm systems (internal and external), x-ray machines, metal
detectors, radios, handcuffs and such like.
Good practice is to set minimum physical security standards for each type of prison,
and for each element within that prison. The specification for perimeter security, for
example, may include an outer concrete wall and an inner prison mesh type fence.
The height, width, foundations, building materials and method of construction would
be specified, along with the distance between the wall and fence, the type and location of perimeter lighting, perimeter alarm system and a CCTV system to trigger
the cameras when a perimeter alarm is activated.
In designing the physical aspects of security, a balance needs to be found between
the best way of achieving the required security level and the need to respect the
dignity of the individual. For example, it is possible to use architectural designs which
meet the need for cell and dormitory windows to be secure while, at the same time,
meeting the standards for access to natural light and fresh air. Physical aids to security such as cameras, monitoring and alarm systems by definition intrude on personal
privacy. In making decisions about where they have to be placed, there needs to be
a balance between legitimate security requirements and the obligation to respect
individual privacy.
The use of physical security instruments (such as chains, handcuffs and fetters) that
are applied directly to prisoners, can be a contentious issue. The United Nations
Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules)
pay particular attention to physical security instruments and prohibit the use of
chains, irons and other instruments of restraint which are inherently degrading or
painful. The rules also regulate the use of other instruments of restraint, applicable
only in the course of transfers as a precaution against escape; or, by order of the
prison director, to prevent a prisoner from injuring him- or herself or others or from
damaging property, if other methods of control fail.

United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners
(the Nelson Mandela Rules)
Rule 47
(1)  The use of chains, irons or other instruments of restraint which are inherently degrading or
painful shall be prohibited.
(2)  Other instruments of restraint shall only be used when authorized by law and in the following
circumstances:
  (a) As a precaution against escape during a transfer, provided that they are removed when
the prisoner appears before a judicial or administrative authority;
  (b) 
By order of the prison director, if other methods of control fail, in order to prevent a
prisoner from injuring himself or herself or others or from damaging property; in such
instances, the director shall immediately alert the physician or other qualified health-care
professionals and report to the higher administrative authority.

CHAPTER 1

PRISON SECURITY: FRAMEWORK AND FUNCTIONS

Rule 48
(1)  When the imposition of instruments of restraint is authorized in accordance with paragraph 2
of rule 47, the following principles shall apply:
  (a) Instruments of restraint are to be imposed only when no lesser form of control would be
effective to address the risks posed by unrestricted movement;
  (b) The method of restraint shall be the least intrusive method that is necessary and reasonably
available to control the prisoner’s movement, based on the level and nature of the risks posed;
  (c) Instruments of restraint shall be imposed only for the time period required, and they are
to be removed as soon as possible after the risks posed by unrestricted movement are no
longer present.
(2)  Instruments of restraint shall never be used on women during labour, during childbirth and
immediately after childbirth.
Rule 49
The prison administration should seek access to, and provide training in the use of, control techniques that would obviate the need for the imposition of instruments of restraint or reduce their
intrusiveness.
European Prison Rules
Rule 68
(1)  The use of chains and irons shall be prohibited.
(2)  Handcuffs, restraint jackets and other body restraints shall not be used except:
  (a) If necessary, as a precaution against escape during a transfer, provided that they shall be
removed when the prisoner appears before a judicial or administrative authority unless that
authority decides otherwise; or
  (b) By order of the director, if other methods of control fail, in order to protect a prisoner
from self-injury, injury to others or to prevent serious damage to property, provided that
in such instances the director shall immediately inform the medical practitioner and report
to the higher prison authority.
(3)  Instruments of restraint shall not be applied for any longer time than is strictly necessary.
(4)  The manner of use of instruments of restraint shall be specified in national law.

Recent years have seen a significant increase in the number of attacks on the external
perimeter of prisons in attempts to liberate high-security prisoners. These attacks
have been mounted by terrorist groups, drug cartels and criminal gangs. Prisons
should take a number of actions to prepare for such an attack. Locating high-security
prisoners in the centre of the prison, rather than in accommodation close to the
perimeter, will delay the escape and give staff the opportunity to respond and summon assistance. Applying techniques (often known as “target hardening techniques”)
to the perimeter will also prevent or delay an escape. These techniques, including:
••

Digging moats and ditches

••

Creating blast zones

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HANDBOOK ON DYNAMIC SECURITY AND PRISON INTELLIGENCE

••

Setting up cordons

••

Putting in place concrete or reinforced steel barriers and security bollards

•	

Installing “tiger traps” (collapsible areas)

These measures help to ensure that vehicles containing explosives cannot reach the
perimeter. In addition, the area around the perimeter should be clear of vegetation
and buildings to create clear lines of sight and a defensible space.
There have been well-documented attempts worldwide to free high-risk prisoners
using helicopters. These escapes often involve helicopters briefly touching down in
exercise areas and on rooftops; lowering ropes or ladders for escaping prisoners to
climb up; and using grappling hooks to try to pull down security fences. Various
actions can be taken to prevent helicopter-assisted escapes, including fixing antihelicopter Kevlar cables (catenary wires) or wire mesh over prison exercise and sports
areas; building armed posts overlooking each exercise area; and installing anti-climb
devices such as electric fences and razor wire to prevent prisoner access to roofs.
Modern prison architecture involves building designs that prevent a helicopter touching down, by creating air uplift.
Prisons may well use a range of physical technology methods—for example, image
digital analysis, thermal vison, microwave, electromagnetic fields, and physical pressure. Prisons should ensure that they are not reliant on one type of physical technology security method in order to prevent natural disasters, human failure and
technical breakdown making all physical security technology unusable. Three different
systems usually provide sufficient resilience.

Procedural security
In many jurisdictions, the prison estate comprises a wide variety of buildings, many
of which date from previous centuries, others are redundant military camps, but few
are modern purpose-built establishments. The physical fabric of these older prisons
is often neglected and consists of features such as very poor visibility and blocked
lines of sight. The reinforcement of internal structures is often not of the latest
standards. It is essential, therefore, that physical security is complemented by other
forms of security.
Security requires effective systems and procedures, coordinated both nationally and
locally. Procedures play an important role in preventing escapes and are regarded as
a fundamental aspect of prison security. Prison staff often learn, or are reminded,
how to perform a security-related task through procedures. Since the human memory
is prone to play tricks on everyone, it is highly likely that most people will forget
how to do a task that is not repeated with great frequency, hence the need for procedures. In each prison, there should be a clearly understood set of procedures that
describe how and when staff should carry out certain functions. Procedures are
becoming more critical as the use of advanced technology increases, especially when
it comes to procedures for monitoring CCTV, perimeter security systems, and electronic locking.
A procedure can be defined as a process that has been standardized as an approach
expected to achieve regulation, consistency and fairness and to assist prison managers

CHAPTER 1

PRISON SECURITY: FRAMEWORK AND FUNCTIONS

and staff to carry out their duties. Procedures often include checklists that provide
extra control to assure that work is performed properly. Procedures can also provide
detailed information about special problems that are known to occur.
Procedures set out how to perform a task in the optimum manner and ensure consistent application within each, and across all, prisons. Procedures are equally as
important as policies. Policies define what is to be done. The procedures (a) outline
how to carry out the policies; (b) are a series of steps taken to accomplish an end
goal; (c) define the mechanisms to enforce policy; and (d) provide a quick reference
in times of crisis. They are the basis of staff training and help eliminate the problem
of a single point of failure.
Good quality procedures have the following features: written and presented in a clear
and accessible style and format; issued in good time for their proper implementation;
as short as possible without excluding relevant material; accessible and available;
reproducible; and can be updated and deleted.
The third key element of effective security is dynamic security, which is discussed
in detail in chapter  3.

Assessment and categorization
United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners
(the Nelson Mandela Rules)
Rule 89
(2)  It is desirable to provide varying degrees of security according to the needs of different groups.
European Prison Rules
Rule 51
(3)  As soon as possible after admission, prisoners shall be assessed to determine:
  (a)  The risk that they would present to the community if they were to escape;
  (b)  The risk that they will try to escape either on their own or with external assistance.
(4)  Each prisoner shall then be held in security conditions appropriate to these levels of risk.
(5)  The level of security necessary shall be reviewed at regular intervals throughout a person’s
imprisonment.
Rule 52
(1)  As soon as possible after admission, prisoners shall be assessed to determine whether they
pose a safety risk to other prisoners, prison staff or other persons working in or visiting prison
or whether they are likely to harm themselves.
Rule 53
(5)  The level of security necessary shall be reviewed at regular intervals throughout a person’s
imprisonment.

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Prisoners do not like being in prison but the majority of them accept the reality of
their situation. Provided that they are subject to appropriate security measures and
fair treatment, they will not try to escape or seriously disrupt the normal routine of
the prison. On the other hand, a small number may well do everything in their power
to try to escape. This means that prison authorities should be able to assess the risk
posed by each individual prisoner in order to make sure that each one is subject to
the appropriate conditions of security, neither too high nor too low. Different levels
of risk call for different levels of security.
There are a number of reasons why security measures to which prisoners are subject
should be the minimum necessary to achieve their secure custody. Research suggests
that the fewer the number of high-security prisoners, the more likely that staff will
be aware of those prisoners and focus their attention on them. In addition, lower
levels of security tend to involve more humane treatment than higher security levels,
so good practice is to hold as few prisoners in high-security conditions as possible
in order to respect their human rights. At a practical level, security is expensive, so
the more prisoners held in higher security conditions, the greater the cost to the State.

Risk assessment
A careful risk assessment should be made by the prison administration. It is vital
that the risk assessment differentiates between four overriding types of risk posed:
••

Risk of escape

••

Risk of violence towards staff, other prisoners and visitors

••

Risk to good order

•	

Risk of prisoners from within the prison directing criminal activity taking
place outside the prison (for example, conducting organized crime-related
activities, terrorist or gang activity, drug trafficking, intimidating or corrupting
witnesses, judiciary, lawyers or jurors)

The type of risk the prisoner poses will have a profound impact on the risk management strategy. For example, the risk management of prisoners who are assessed
to be a serious escape risk will need to emphasize security routines and measures,
while that of prisoners who are assessed to represent a risk to good order may not
need to emphasize security so much as efforts to change attitudes and behaviour.
The overriding consideration in risk assessment is the protection of the public. Those
involved in undertaking risk assessments need to be satisfied that the prisoner’s risk
is reducing, in order to recommend progressive moves to lower security institutions
and that the risk has reduced to an acceptable level compatible with the protection
of public safety, in order to recommend release.
A number of criteria have been identified for assessing escape risk. They would
usually include the following:
••

The threat the prisoner might present to the community if he or she were
to escape

••

The likelihood that the person will try to escape, either on his or her own
or with external assistance

CHAPTER 1

PRISON SECURITY: FRAMEWORK AND FUNCTIONS

••

Previous history of attempting to escape and access to external help

••

The nature of the crime for which the prisoner was convicted

••

The number and types of any previous offences

••

Length of sentence, which usually reflects the nature of the crime

•	

The potential for threat to other prisoners and staff

Initial risk assessment should not over-focus on observable behaviour but should
encourage identification of less obvious features that might signify risk. Important
aspects which should feature within the risk assessments should not be overlooked,
including:
••

The existence of a criminal lifestyle

••

The presence of sexual deviance (e.g. history of sexual violence, child abuse,
etc.)

••

Offender’s attitude to the victim of the offence

••

Thinking skills deficits, such as the failure to anticipate consequences

••

Emotional immaturity, such as difficulty coping with loss, rejection or stress

•	

Analysis of the motivation for the violence within the offence

Intelligence, both internal prison intelligence and intelligence from other law enforcement agencies, can be a vital part of any risk assessment, as it often provides insight
that other sources cannot bring to the assessment.
Depending on the jurisdiction in which the assessment is being carried out, specific
issues will need to be included within some of the above criteria, such as gang affiliation, conviction for terrorism-related offences or membership in an organized crime
syndicate. Important additional issues to look at within the assessment of such prisoners would be their role within their organization or group (i.e. high or low level)
and the risk of their influencing, indoctrinating or recruiting other prisoners; their
risk management will need to take these threats into account.
With regard to offenders convicted for terrorism-related offences, or violent extremist
offenders, it is very important to understand that not all such persons are the same.
Motivations, circumstances and reasons why individuals commit the same type of
offence are often varied and complex. The risk assessment of such offenders needs
to be informed by a sophisticated understanding of the characteristics of the organization to which they belong and their motivations.10

Categorization and allocation
Once a thorough risk assessment has taken place, prisoners should be categorized
according to the appropriate level of security they will need to be held in. The categorization of prisoners is also essential to decide their allocation to a suitable prison
or unit within a prison and, together with the findings of their risk and needs assessment, it provides the basis for the development of individualized sentence plans.
10 
The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, Prisons and Terrorism,
Radicalisation and De-radicalisation in 15 Countries (2010), pp. 13 and 22.

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In most jurisdictions, prisoners are described according to their security category,
which may be high, medium or low. The security category of a prison is based on
the level of security that exists in the prison. A high-security prison would have
significant physical, procedural and dynamic security arrangements in place so that
it would be impossible for a prisoner to escape. In contrast, a low-security prison
may have no locks on cell doors and a low perimeter fence.
In deciding on the allocation of prisoners, the principles of legality, necessity, accountability, proportionality and non-discrimination should always be respected. This
would mean that all prisoners are held in the least restrictive setting necessary for
their safe and secure custody, based on their individual risk assessments. There should
be no discrimination against certain groups or individuals, based on their race, ethnicity, nationality, language, gender, sexual orientation, religion, political views or any
other reason.
The small number of prisoners who are assessed and categorized as high security
would usually be allocated to a high-security prison or a high-security unit within a
prison that has a lower security category (e.g. a medium-security prison). The even
smaller number of prisoners who are considered to be particularly dangerous may
need to be held in special maximum-security facilities, which may be special prisons
or separate units within another prison (e.g. within a high-security prison where other
high-risk prisoners are held). There should be different arrangements for women and
young offenders, who should be held in less restrictive environments.11
Different considerations should also apply to prisoners with mental illness, who
should be held in conditions that take into account their mental health requirements,
and which should be the least restrictive possible, balanced with the need for secure
custody. Such offenders may, for example, be held in secure psychiatric facilities or
sections of hospitals designed to hold people who have committed a criminal offence
but who have a treatable mental illness.
Pretrial prisoners may also be held in high-security conditions, as potential high-risk
prisoners. This would be the case if there is a high probability that they will be
assessed as high-risk if convicted and sentenced. Such a preliminary risk assessment
may be made based on the offence with which they are charged and additional
reports from the law enforcement officials, as to their background, affiliation with
any crime syndicates or terrorist organisations and circumstances of the offence,
among others.
Review and reassessment are important features of any humane classification system
that seeks to balance security and rehabilitation. They should be scheduled and
conducted with reasonable frequency and with sensitivity to the individual prisoner’s
development.

11 
For women, see the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures
for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules), Rule 41(a). For children, see the Convention on the Rights of the Child,
Art. 37, and the United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty, Rules 12, 28 and 30.

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Accounting and control
Accounting for prisoners
The system and procedures for accounting for prisoners is crucial to the security of
the prison and the safety of both staff and prisoners. A count is a physical acknowledgement of the number of prisoners in certain locations. The number of prisoners
in each area is compared with the number assigned there. Procedures should set out:
••

When to count prisoners

••

Where to count prisoners

••

How to count prisoners

••

Who should count prisoners

••

Arrangements for the recording of counts

••

When there should be a prohibition on movement of prisoners

•	

Counting procedures during emergencies

For example, prison staff should be under a duty, on taking charge of a group of
prisoners, to count the number of prisoners and to remain responsible for the charge
and supervision of each prisoner in the group until the prisoners are delivered into
the charge and supervision of a relieving member of staff.

Accounting for items presenting a risk
Prisoners frequently steal tools and equipment that belong to the prison. These may
then be used to assist with escapes. It is critical that each prison has in place procedures for the control of tools and equipment. The security department should have
ready access to up-to-date inventories of all equipment and tools held in the prison
and must arrange frequent but irregular checks of all shadow boards, tool cupboards
and tool stores in the prison, and record the outcome of those checks in auditable
form. Effective management of tools, equipment and property requires that:
••

Every tool has a unique number etched on it

••

Each prisoner has an identification tally

••

The tally is placed on a board to indicate which tools have been issued

••

All tools secured in locked cabinets when not in use

••

Tool checks conducted at end of every work session

•	

No prisoner movement takes place until tools are correct

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HANDBOOK ON DYNAMIC SECURITY AND PRISON INTELLIGENCE

Movement control
“Effectively managing the movement of prisoners within a prison depends on:
•	 Staffing levels being commensurate with the number of prisoners;
•	 The level of staff skills and competency;
•	 The layout/configuration of the prison;
•	 The effectiveness of static security infrastructure;
•	 The ability to effectively classify and separate categories of prisoners.”
United Nations DPKO: Prison Incident Management Handbook, 2013, p. 26.

Movement control procedures should be put in place so that prisoner allocations are
risk assessed, clearly recorded and controlled from a central point. There should be
designated movement routes agreed following threat and risk assessments. The routes
should be safe and easily observed, particularly by CCTV, where available. Staff
supervising movements should be in radio communication. As far as possible, routes
should avoid open areas or access to rooftops. The order of movement should be
centrally controlled but unpredictable. It is important that high-risk prisoners are
searched on departure from each location and logged out. Prisoners should also be
logged in on arrival at the approved destination.
No movement of individual high-risk prisoners should be permitted until mass movement has been completed and the prison roll (total number of prisoners in the prison
accounted for) is correct. If the roll is not correct, a standstill (i.e. freeze all movement of prisoners) roll check should take place at the specific location showing
discrepancy. If this does not reconcile the roll, a standstill roll check should take
place at every location to identify the discrepancy. If this also fails to reconcile the roll,
all prisoners should be returned to accommodation blocks for lock-down (i.e. all
prisoners located in cells, rooms, or dormitories) roll check.

Searching
United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners
(the Nelson Mandela Rules)
Rule 50
Searches shall be conducted in a manner that is respectful of the inherent human dignity and
privacy of the individual being searched, as well as the principles of proportionality, legality and
necessity.
Rule 51
Searches shall not be used to harass, intimidate or unnecessarily intrude upon a prisoner’s privacy.
For the purpose of accountability, the prison administration shall keep appropriate records of
searches, in particular strip and body cavity searches and searches of cells, as well as the reasons
for the searches, the identities of those who conducted them and any results of the searches.

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Rule 52
(1)  Intrusive searches, including strip and body cavity searches, should be undertaken only if
absolutely necessary. Prison administrations shall be encouraged to develop and use appropriate
alternatives to intrusive searches. Intrusive searches shall be conducted in private and by trained
staff of the same sex as the prisoner.
(2)  Body cavity searches shall be conducted only by qualified health-care professionals other than
those primarily responsible for the care of the prisoner or, at a minimum, by staff appropriately
trained by a medical professional in standards of hygiene, health and safety.
Rule 60
(2)  Search and entry procedures for visitors shall not be degrading and shall be governed by
principles at least as protective as those outlined in rules 50 to 52. Body cavity searches should
be avoided and should not be applied to children.

Principles And Best Practices On The Protection Of Persons Deprived Of Liberty In
The  Americas
Principle XXI
Whenever bodily searches, inspections of installations and organizational measures of places of
deprivation of liberty are permitted by law, they shall comply with criteria of necessity, reasonableness and proportionality.
Bodily searches of persons deprived of liberty and visitors to places of deprivation of liberty shall
be carried out under adequate sanitary conditions by qualified personnel of the same sex, and
shall be compatible with human dignity and respect for fundamental rights. In line with the
foregoing, Member States shall employ alternative means through technological equipment and
procedures, or other appropriate methods.
Intrusive vaginal or anal searches shall be forbidden by law.
The inspections or searches in units or installations of places of deprivation of liberty shall be
carried out by the competent authorities, in accordance with a properly established procedure and
with respect for the rights of persons deprived of liberty.

European Prison Rules
Rule 54
(1)  There shall be detailed procedures which staff have to follow when searching:
  (a) All places where prisoners live, work and congregate;
  (b) Prisoners;
  (c)  Visitors and their possessions; and
  (d) Staff.
(2)  The situations in which such searches are necessary and their nature shall be defined by
national law.
(3)  Staff shall be trained to carry out these searches in such a way as to detect and prevent any
attempt to escape or to hide contraband, while at the same time respecting the dignity of those
being searched and their personal possessions.

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(4)  Persons being searched shall not be humiliated by the searching process.
(5)  Persons shall only be searched by staff of the same gender.
(6)  There shall be no internal physical searches of prisoners’ bodies by prison staff.
(7)  An intimate examination related to a search may be conducted by a medical practitioner
only.
(8)  Prisoners shall be present when their personal property is being searched unless investigating
techniques or the potential threat to staff prohibit this.

Many illicit items infiltrated into prisons arrive through social visits.12 The initial
searching of visitors on arrival is the main safeguard against smuggling. If searching
is not carried out efficiently, this safeguard is lost. Procedures for searching visitors
should be clearly set out in written instructions. Staff should be properly trained and
proficient in the use of X-ray and metal detecting equipment. Procedures should not
be ignored because of time pressure, belligerent prisoners or to meet statistical targets.
The consistency of application of procedures should be closely monitored. The design
of, and procedures within, each visiting room should also be given careful
consideration.
Once items have infiltrated the prison, the only defence against their illicit use is a
thorough search programme. Searching strategies should not be aspirational, but
based upon a realistic appreciation of what is necessary and what is possible. Realistic
local searching policies, properly and professionally undertaken, will have a deterrent
effect upon prisoners. There are different areas of the prison or situations in which
searching is required, including searching prisoners, visitors, staff, contractors, vehicles,
equipment, goods, stores, mail, property, workshops, sports fields and accommodation.
Prisoners may breach the physical security of the cell by tampering with bars, locks
or other physical security measures including walls, ceilings and floors. Prisons should
have procedures in place for conducting accommodation fabric checks at a frequency
compatible with their individual needs.
Staff should undertake searching activities professionally and ensure that prisoners
are not humiliated by the searching process. Intrusive searches, including strip
searches and body cavity searches, should be undertaken only if absolutely necessary.
Institutions should develop and use alternatives to intrusive searches. Intrusive
searches shall be conducted in private and by trained staff of the same sex as the
prisoner. Body cavity searches shall only be conducted by qualified health-care professionals other than those primarily responsible for the care of the prisoner, or, at
a minimum by staff appropriately trained by a medical professional in standards of
hygiene, health and safety. Good practice is to have a “secreted items policy” that
clearly states the actions that should be implemented when prisoners are suspected
of having secreted items internally.

12 
Other means of illicit items entering the prison include staff corruption; prisoners returning to the prison
(from work parties, court visits or temporary leave); and items being thrown into the prison.

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Prisoners should be present when their personal property is being searched unless
investigating techniques or the potential threat to staff prohibits this. Staff should
also ensure that the searching is completed according to procedures and that they
are not intimidated or distracted by prisoners during the search.
Staff should exercise special sensitivity when searching women prisoners. Male members of staff should never be involved in personal searches of women prisoners. The
need to observe common decency, for example, by not requiring prisoner to strip
completely naked in the course of a body search, applies especially in the case of
women prisoners.13

Communications and surveillance
Prisoners retain, within certain limits, their human rights and freedoms, including
their right to family life and not to be totally isolated from society. In some circumstances, prisoners may be prevented from physical contact with friends and family
if there are security reasons for doing so. The prison administration’s duty to encourage communication with the outside world must be balanced against the risks that
may be associated with the ability of prisoners to communicate with those outside.
Communication must be managed to prevent crime, inhibit the trafficking of unauthorized items, ensure the protection of the public from unwanted communications,
and prevent escapes.
United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners
(the Nelson Mandela Rules)
Rule 58
(1)  Prisoners shall be allowed, under necessary supervision, to communicate with their family
and friends at regular intervals:
 (a)  By corresponding in writing and using, where available, telecommunication, electronic,
digital and other means; and
 (b)  By receiving visits.
Rule 43
(3)  Disciplinary sanctions or restrictive measures shall not include the prohibition of family contact.
The means of family contact may only be restricted for a limited time period and as strictly
required for the maintenance of security and order.
Rule 63
Prisoners shall be kept informed regularly of the more important items of news by the reading
of newspapers, periodicals or special institutional publications, by hearing wireless transmissions,
by lectures or by any similar means as authorized or controlled by the prison administration.
Rule 88
(1)  The treatment of prisoners should emphasize not their exclusion from the community, but
their continuing part in it. Community agencies should, therefore, be enlisted wherever possible
to assist the prison staff in the task of social rehabilitation of the prisoners.

13 

Bangkok Rules, Rules 19 and 20.

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Rule 106
Special attention shall be paid to the maintenance and improvement of such relations between
a prisoner and his or her family as are desirable in the best interests of both.
Rule 107
From the beginning of a prisoner’s sentence, consideration shall be given to his or her future
after release and he or she shall be encouraged and provided assistance to maintain or establish
such relations with persons or agencies outside the prison as may promote the prisoner’s rehabilitation and the best interests of his or her family.
See also European Prison Rules, Rules 24.1 to 24.12, Principles and Best Practices on the Protection
of Persons Deprived of Liberty in the Americas, Principle XVIII.

Prisoners’ outside contacts must be seen as entitlements rather than privileges. They
should, therefore, not be used as either rewards or punishments. To deprive prisoners
of such contacts as a disciplinary sanction is not acceptable, except where a specific
abuse of the exact contact was the offence. Punishment should never include total
deprivation from contact with families.
There are five basic ways in which contact can be maintained with the outside: letters; visits; telephone calls; prison leave; books, newspapers and the Internet. Any
contact with the outside world is likely to raise some security concerns, particularly
in the case of high-security prisoners. It is important, therefore, to find ways in which
appropriate levels of contact can be maintained without jeopardizing security. This
will usually be possible, provided that staff understand that both security and contact
with the outside world are equally important elements in their difficult task.
Interference with prisoner communications should only take place in accordance with
national legislation and as a proportionate response to the threat posed. There should
be procedures for:
••

The monitoring and interception of prisoner communications

••

Providing information to prisoners on local arrangements regarding mail and
telephone calls

••

Procedures for dealing with for illicit enclosures

••

Management of legally privileged correspondence

••

Other approved confidential correspondence

••

Disclosure

••

The amount of correspondence to be routinely read and telephone calls listened to

••

How to deal with requests by the police or another investigating authority
including ad hoc disclosure

•	

Retention of material

There should also be arrangements in place to control a prisoner’s access to information technology and the Internet.

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PRISON SECURITY: FRAMEWORK AND FUNCTIONS

In some prison systems, virtual visits via video conferencing may be arranged in the
case of prisoners whose families live far away from the prison and who are unable
to visit on a regular basis, to enable prisoners to have both visual and verbal contact
with them. Such arrangements are especially pertinent to foreign national prisoners.
Prison authorities should ensure that such visits are closely monitored and that
appropriate supervision arrangements are put in place where additional risks are
involved, for example, with sex offenders.
All prisons should have in place systems to allow security and related information
to be gathered and evaluated in a secure environment, consistent with national legislation, in order to meet security and intelligence objectives. All staff should have a
responsibility to actively gather security information and pass this information to the
Security Department. The subject of prison intelligence gathering, both overt and
covert, and its analysis is discussed in detail in chapters 3 and 4.

Prison security framework
All prison administrations should have a national, state or federal high-level prison
security framework document to provide prisons with the information and guidance
needed to maintain high levels of security, meet the aim of preventing escapes and
prevent high-risk prisoners from directing criminal activities taking place outside the
prison. The security framework should apply equally to all parts of all categories of
prisons.
The aim of the security framework should be to provide common minimum standards
of security across all prisons but it should not provide extensive central prescription.
Individual prison directors should be given some level of autonomy in the running
of their prisons and the flexibility to adapt the core minimum standards to local
circumstances. The framework should present information in a manner that enables
prisons to apply security procedures in the way most suited to their individual needs
and resources. It should be readily accessible and up-to-date. Headquarters should
enter and highlight amendments as they become necessary.
In many jurisdictions, the prison security framework focuses on the four main highlevel security functions discussed above:
••

Assessment and categorization

••

Accounting and control

••

Searching

•	

Communications and surveillance

Managing security at prison level
The prison security framework should be supported by an agreed local security
strategy which reflects the needs of each prison, manages identified local risks and
meets the requirements set out in the framework. Good practice is to make the local
security strategy available to all local staff.

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The local security strategy in each prison should set out arrangements for meeting
the requirements of each of the four or more functions covered in the national security framework. This document, drawn up by local prison management, should specify
procedures that enable compliance with the national framework while reflecting the
particular security needs and resources of the individual prison concerned. In particular, the procedures set out in the local security strategy should:
••

Take account of local risk analysis

••

Reflect local physical and procedural security

••

Consider the categories of prisoners held in the prison

•	

Identify staff, equipment and resources necessary to carry out each task

The balance within each prison between the different types of security (physical,
procedural and dynamic) should be based on such features as the presence of external
patrols, towers, security barriers or detection devices; the type of accommodation
within the institution; internal security features; and the staff-to-inmate ratio.
At prison level, the crucial requirement for prison management is to ensure that all
staff are aware of the concepts of physical, procedural and dynamic security, and to
create the necessary structures to enable staff to feel supported in the exercise of
their authority. Good practice indicates that there should be four components to a
local security management structure: the prison director who has overall operational
responsibility for the security of the prison; a security committee—to advise the
director on the full range of security issues; a security manager and a security department with responsibility; and prison staff who are collectively and individually responsible for the maintenance of proper levels of security at all times. It is often rightly
stated on notices within prisons that “security is everyone’s responsibility”.

Security audits
Investigations into escapes from prisons reveal few instances in which malfunctioning
locks or electronic detection systems, insufficient razor wire, or other deficiencies in
physical plant or technology were responsible. Most serious security breaches have
occurred because one or more staff members have taken a “shortcut”, did not know
what was expected of them, or simply had failed to follow established security procedures. Though weaknesses in the physical plant may have contributed to the problem, it was usually the failure of staff to attend to security-related activity that was at
the heart of the incident. In other words, people-system failures, not physical-system
failures account for most security breakdowns.
This reality points to the need to establish a comprehensive security auditing programme. A security audit is a process for determining the extent to which policy,
procedure, standards and practice combine to provide a safe and secure prison environment. Included in this process is a detailed evaluation of every major aspect of
a prison’s security programme. The security audit focuses on security operations.
Although standards and policy are important aspects of such audits, the primary
focus is the security systems and their operational implementation on a daily basis.
The audit is a practical experience that, when properly conducted by persons who

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PRISON SECURITY: FRAMEWORK AND FUNCTIONS

are intimately familiar with security principles, identifies weaknesses in prison security
arrangements that create risk to safety and security of staff and the community.
The benefits of security audits to the prison administration and individual prisons
are many: weaknesses, deficiencies, inadequate procedures and areas of vulnerability
in the institution’s operation are identified; compliance with the national security
framework and prison level standards, policies and procedures is assessed; equipment,
locking mechanisms, tool and key systems, etc. that are inoperable, inappropriate or
inadequate are identified; the efficient and effective application of security resources
is reviewed; and good practices are identified and are shared throughout the prison
administration.
In some jurisdictions, a combination of internal audits and external audits are mandated. Internal audits (those conducted by staff within a prison) are sometimes
required between external audits (audits conducted by a team or staff from outside
the institution). In other jurisdictions, internal audits are pre-audits and are conducted by institution staff just prior to the external audit.
Internal audits are not recommended as the sole audit activity. It is often found that
auditors find it difficult to objectively point out shortcomings by friends, fellow
workers and supervisors. In addition, they may not identify risk or vulnerability as
they audit conditions in which they work every day, because they are too familiar
with it and unable to be dispassionate. In some jurisdictions, “peer-to-peer” audits
take place (where staff from one prison audit another prison), which helps to overcome some of these problems.
External audits tend to be more objective and thorough. They may be announced
or unannounced. An advantage of unannounced audits is that the institution is viewed
in an operational condition more closely approximating normal. An advantage of
announced audits is that the institution has an opportunity to prepare and correct
conditions that they know to be deficient before the audit occurs. Some jurisdictions
have found a combination of announced and unannounced audits to be effective, a
schedule of unannounced audits sometimes being established on a random basis.
Many jurisdictions use a security audit checklist which is often a statement of the
security objectives and baselines set out in the national security framework. Information is recorded related to each baseline and space provided for an auditor’s comment.
The auditor should make an assessment for each baseline and identify whether the
prison complies or does not comply with the baseline. An overall assessment score
for each prison should be given at the end of the audit which reflects the level of
compliance with the national security framework and security baselines.
Experience has proven that the development and implementation of a comprehensive
security audit programme is a major step in reducing the security risks that can be
endemic in prison operations.

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HANDBOOK ON DYNAMIC SECURITY AND PRISON INTELLIGENCE

Covert testing
Covert testing is the planned, managed, realistic but unannounced test of security
processes, procedures and equipment. The main purpose of the covert testing policy
is to:
••

Test delivery of processes and procedures designed to maintain security and
prevent escape

••

Test technical aids designed to maintain security and prevent escape

••

Prevent the entry of unauthorized items

••

Identify vulnerable areas/inadequate equipment

••

Identify management and system inadequacies that need reinforcing

••

Reward and recognize good practice

••

Respond and test identified intelligence and/or risk assessment concerns

••

Identify training needs

••

Identify failings and ensure they are addressed appropriately

•	

Offer assurance on a prison’s ability to deliver core security responsibilities

Covert testing is a tool to give assurance to prison directors that staff are vigilant
and that security procedures are conducted in accordance with national procedures.
Used appropriately, covert testing is a dynamic and realistic test of security arrangements. For example, covert testing may include:
••

Asking a member of staff to try and smuggle an illicit item into the prison
and seeing whether it is detected

••

Taking a prisoner from a work party without informing the responsible member of staff and seeing how long it takes to identify that a prisoner is
missing

••

Asking a trusted prisoner or member of staff to smuggle something out of
the kitchen and seeing if he is able to do it

••

Leaving a gate unlocked and closely monitoring it to see how long it takes
before it is discovered

Concentric circles of protection
There is always a risk that elements of physical and procedural security may fail.
Physical security arrangements may be breached, power may fail, and equipment
break down. Staff may not follow procedures, be subject to conditioning, manipulation, and corruption or human error may occur. In order to reduce the risk associated
with failures in physical and procedural security, an underlying principle for providing
good security involves a concept called “concentric circles of protection”. This
concept involves the use of multiple “rings” or “layers” of security. The application
of this concept ensures that, even if one layer or element of security fails, prisoners
will need to overcome a number of security measures to escape. Having multiple

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PRISON SECURITY: FRAMEWORK AND FUNCTIONS

layers decreases the probability that a prisoner will be able to escape or that an
intruder will be able to gain access.
The first layer is located at the boundary of the prison, and additional layers are
provided as you move inward through the prison towards its most secure area. The
more layers that exist between the outside world and a prisoner, the better the security is likely to be. At each layer, there is an opportunity to deter, detect, disrupt
and delay a prisoner or intruder. For example, prisoners and intruders attempting
to penetrate a layer can be detected and intercepted with an appropriate security
response. It is possible to decrease the prisoner’s/intruder’s chance of success by
adding layers, or by increasing the effectiveness of each layer, or by doing both.
Relying on a single layer to provide security is hardly ever effective, because it requires
a level of perfection that is unattainable. While the chances of breaching any single
layer may be good, the chance of breaching three or more successive layers becomes
exponentially more difficult.
Layers of security can take many forms. Physical barriers (walls, fences, gates, bars)
and detection and surveillance systems (CCTV, movement detection systems, watch­
towers, guard posts, tracking systems) can provide primary layers. Simple procedures
can provide additional security layers at little or no cost. Staff security awareness can
also create an invisible, yet very effective, security layer. Intervention arrangements
can be considered to be a security layer as effective and swift intervention by staff
can stop an escape attempt.
The multiple layers concept also provides for redundancy in case there is a breakdown
in procedures. For example, a member of staff may fail to lock a piece of equipment
in a cabinet as per established procedures, but instead leave the equipment lying out
openly on a desk. If the area is locked, and access to the area (workshop) is controlled, the equipment is still protected. While the chance of a breakdown in any
single procedure may be good, the chance of a breakdown in three or more successive
procedures is considerably less likely. An absolute minimum of three layers should
exist between the outside world and a prisoner, with five or more layers being
desirable.
The concept of concentric circles of protection underpins the decision of many
jurisdictions to create high-security units within the perimeter of larger prisons—a
prison within a prison. High-security prisoners would need to get out of the high­
security unit and then get through the security measures in the main prison before
achieving their escape. The security measures in the high-security unit should replicate rather than replace or rely on the security measures in the main prison. For
example, all staff, prisoners and materials entering the high-security unit should be
searched, even though they may have been searched in the main prison.

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KEY PRINCIPLES
•	 Each prisoner should be held in conditions of security in line with the levels of risk posed
in terms of escape.
•	 Appropriate security arrangements should be put in place to ensure high-risk prisoners
cannot escape and, at the same time, ensure that their human rights are upheld and
respected at all times.
•	 Sufficient physical security should be in place to deter and to prevent prisoners from
escaping.
•	 A robust system of security procedures should be established and those procedures
should be applied in a consistent manner.
•	 Staff should be encouraged to build up effective professional relationships with prisoners
as part of dynamic security arrangements.
•	 Prisoners should be correctly held and accounted for throughout their custody; access to
and movement within the prison and items that may present a risk to security should be
effectively managed.
•	 Searching procedures should be in place which detect and deter threats to the security or
control of the prison.
•	 Concentric circles of protection should be used to reduce the risk of escape as they
increase the opportunity to detect, deter, delay and respond to escape attempts.
•	 A national security framework should be in place as the source document to provide
prisons with the information and guidance needed to maintain high levels of security and
to meet the aim of preventing escapes.
•	 A local security strategy should be in place at each prison which takes account of local
risk analysis; reflects local physical and procedural security; considers the categories of
prisoners held in the prison; and identifies staff, equipment and resources necessary to
carry out each of the main security tasks (categorization and assessment, accounting and
control, searching and communications and surveillance).
•	 A comprehensive security auditing programme should be established at local and national
level to check security systems and their operational implementation.
•	 Arrangements should be put in place to test security processes, procedures and
equipment.

Chapter 2
Dynamic security
European Prison Rules
Rule 51
(2)  The security which is provided by physical barriers and other technical means shall be complemented by the dynamic security provided by an alert staff who know the prisoners who are
under their control.
Council Of Europe Committee Of Ministers Recommendation Rec(2003)23, 18. a.
The maintenance of control in prison should be based on the use of dynamic security, that is the
development by staff of positive relationships with prisoners based on firmness and fairness, in combination with an understanding of their personal situation and any risk posed by individual prisoners.

Essential elements of dynamic security
Physical and procedural security arrangements are essential features of any prison
but they are not sufficient in themselves to ensure that prisoners do not escape.
Security also depends on an alert group of staff who interact with, and who know,
their prisoners; staff developing positive staff-prisoner relationships; staff who have
an awareness of what is going on in the prison; fair treatment and a sense of “well-­
being” among prisoners; and staff who make sure that prisoners are kept busy doing
constructive and purposeful activities that contribute to their future reintegration into
society. This concept is often described as dynamic security and is increasingly being
adopted globally.

An important element of the security activities is that it is multi‐pronged, meaning that it does not
solely rely on physical and technical means of various kinds (static security), but also on personal
contact and a general knowledge of what is going on in the institution (dynamic security).
Danish Prison and Probation—Prison policy, prison regime and prisoners’ rights in Denmark, William Rentzmann, Director‐
General of the Danish Prison and Probation Service, Proceedings of the Colloquium of the IPPF, Stavern, Norway, 25-28 June
2008, Nijmegen, Wolf Legal Publishers, 2008, page 292.

29

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Individualism, relationship and activity come together in the concept of dynamic
security. This approach to public safety (preventing escapes) and safety for the prison
(internal order) recognizes that both are only really possible through the relationship
between staff and prisoners. Dynamic security is knowing what is going on in a
prison, in addition to providing a safe and secure background against which the
whole range of activity making up the life of a prison takes place. The concept of
dynamic security has the benefits of engaging prisoners individually and gaining both
material and intuitive insights into the operation of the prison.

The concept of dynamic security is based on:
•	 Positive relationships, communication and interaction between the staff and prisoners
•	 Professionalism
•	 Collecting relevant information
•	 Insight into and improving social climate of the penal institution
•	 Firmness and fairness
•	 Understanding personal situation of the prisoner
•	 Communication, positive relations and exchange of the information among all employees
Prison Administration, Ministry of Justice, Republic of Croatia, Dynamic Security in Penal Institutions, Presentation at 7th
conference of European Penitentiary Training Academies, 25—27 June 2014, Barcelona, Spain.

When implemented effectively, dynamic security allows prisoners to feel comfortable
when approaching prison staff before problems escalate. It is important, therefore,
that staff take every opportunity to interact directly with prisoners and avoid retreating behind doors, into corridors or offices and stations unless required to do so.

The concept of security involves much more than physical barriers to escape. Security depends
on an alert staff who interact with prisoners, who have an awareness of what is going on in the
prison and who ensure that prisoners are kept active in a positive way. This is often described as
“dynamic security”.
An officer in a watchtower on the perimeter is likely to see an escape attempt only after it has
begun. An officer who works closely with prisoners and knows what they are doing will be much
more aware of possible threats to security before they occur. Dynamic security is not just about
preventing prisoners from escaping. It is also about maintaining good relationships with prisoners
and being aware of their moods and temperament.
Human Rights and Prisons: A Manual on Human Rights Training for Prison Officials, vol.  I, Office of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights, 2005, page 98.

Dynamic security can also be beneficial when a prison system has limited resources
to spend on physical security measures.

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DYNAMIC SECURITY 31

“In many post-conflict environments, prisons generally lack essential static security elements and
staff members compensate for this by restricting prisoner movement and by locking prisoners in
cells for extended periods. The introduction of effective dynamic security elements, such as increased
staff/prisoner contact and interaction, can offset a prison’s limited static security components.”
UNDPKO—Prison Incident Management Handbook, 2013, page 21.

Professional and constructive relationships with prisoners
Prison staff should develop and sustain professional relationships with prisoners.
Many indicators of a prison system’s success are shown in the efforts of prison staff
to work constructively with prisoners, and to exercise their judgement and discretion
in doing so.

Dynamic security occurs when corrections officers interact and engage with prisoners during the
course of their work by:
•	 Regularly walking through the area in which they are posted;
•	 Talking to prisoners, gaining their trust, and building rapport;
•	 Checking prisoners’ physical welfare during musters and head checks;
•	 Maintaining a consistent approach to inappropriate behaviour;
•	 Encouraging positive behaviour and addressing negative behaviour;
•	 Engaging in case management process;
•	 Following up on requests in a timely manner; and
•	 Remaining calm during incidents.
Australian Capital Territory, Corrections Management (Management of Prisoners) Policy, 2011.

Dynamic security is much more qualitative than static physical and procedural security measures. Where there is regular contact with prisoners, an alert staff member
will be responsive to situations which are different from the norm and which may
present a threat to security. Staff who are engaged with prisoners in these ways will
be able to prevent escapes and incidents occurring.
Placing an emphasis on the need for prison staff to establish positive relationships
with prisoners is key to dynamic security. This concept rests on the notion that
engaging with prisoners and getting to know them can enable staff to anticipate and
better prepare themselves to respond effectively to any incident that may threaten
the security of the prison and the safety of staff and prisoners.
The nature of relations between staff and prisoners is also key to dynamic security.
For example, the way in which prison staff address prisoners, how searches are carried out and their frequency, whether prisoners’ privacy is respected when they are
required to remove clothing, whether restraints are used unnecessarily and in a way
which is humiliating, whether privacy in toilets and showers is respected, whether

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HANDBOOK ON DYNAMIC SECURITY AND PRISON INTELLIGENCE

prisoners are required to wear distinguishing uniforms, are all ways in which prisoners’ humanity and dignity may or may not be respected. Using disrespectful language, or subjecting prisoners to humiliating routines or practices without any security
justification, constitute a breach of their fundamental right to be treated with humanity and with respect for their inherent dignity.

Interpersonal skills
Interpersonal skills are an important element in the effective application of dynamic
security. It is imperative that staff working with prisoners have a high level of interpersonal skills: their job can be demanding, intense, and at the same time very
rewarding. Staff must be able to maintain professionalism and fairness at all times.
If staff are confident and assertive in their approach, they will find that conflict is
limited and they are able to deal with volatile situations as they arise.
Staff should be familiar with and understand the different groups (including religious,
ethnic, cultural) that they may come across within their prison. They must be sensitive to the needs of those around them, while not compromising the security of
the environment. Staff should know and understand how behaviour, communication
and interpersonal skills affect an individual’s expectation. They should be aware of
barriers that may interfere with communication and they must also be aware of how
their non-verbal behaviour is interpreted during communication with prisoners.
Communication, both verbal and non-verbal, is a two-way process. The behaviour
of prison staff can affect the expectations of individuals and groups, both positively
and negatively. Different forms of non-verbal communication can have an impact,
for example exaggerated hand movements or invading someone’s personal space may
aggravate a situation. While staff cannot always overcome barriers, they can minimize
their effects. Behaviour can prevent conflict within the prison: for example, approachability of staff, instilling confidence, creating a sense of order and safety/security.
Staff should be introduced to techniques for dealing with conflict, such as appearing
calm and in control of the situation.

Staff selection and training
United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners
(the Nelson Mandela Rules)
Rule 74
(1)  The prison administration shall provide for the careful selection of every grade of the personnel, since it is on their integrity, humanity, professional capacity and personal suitability for the
work that the proper administration of prisons depends.
Rule 75
(2)  Before entering on duty, all prison staff shall be provided with training tailored to their general
and specific duties, which shall be reflective of contemporary evidence-based best practice in penal
sciences. Only those candidates who successfully pass the theoretical and practical tests at the
end of such training shall be allowed to enter the prison service.

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DYNAMIC SECURITY 33

(3)  The prison administration shall ensure the continuous provision of in-service training courses
with a view to maintaining and improving the knowledge and professional capacity of its personnel,
after entering on duty and during their career.
Rule 76
(1)  Training referred to in paragraph 2 of rule 75 shall include, at a minimum, training on:
  (a)  Relevant national legislation, regulations and policies, as well as applicable international
and regional instruments, the provisions of which must guide the work and interactions of prison
staff with inmates;
  (b)  Rights and duties of prison staff in the exercise of their functions, including respecting the
human dignity of all prisoners and the prohibition of certain conduct, in particular torture and
other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
  (c)  Security and safety, including the concept of dynamic security, the use of force and instruments of restraint, and the management of violent offenders, with due consideration of preventive
and defusing techniques, such as negotiation and mediation;
  (d)  First aid, the psychosocial needs of prisoners and the corresponding dynamics in prison
settings, as well as social care and assistance, including early detection of mental health issues.
(2)  Prison staff who are in charge of working with certain categories of prisoners, or who are
assigned other specialized functions, shall receive training that has a corresponding focus.

Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials
Article 18
Governments and law enforcement agencies shall ensure that all law enforcement agents are
selected by proper screening procedures, have appropriate moral, psychological and physical qualities for the effective exercise of their functions and receive continuous and thorough professional
training. Their continued fitness to perform these functions should be subject to periodic review.

Prison systems should ensure that the building of effective relationships between staff
and prisoners is translated into reality through staff selection and training. Dynamic
security is most effective where there is a professional and well-trained group of staff.
Staff should be specially selected and trained to work with prisoners. Where staff are
not properly trained in establishing and maintaining relationships with prisoners, they
are more likely to be vulnerable to conditioning and manipulation by prisoners
(see  below).
The importance of building and maintaining relationships with prisoners should be
reflected and emphasized repeatedly in the ways prison staff are assessed, developed
and selected, as well as being reinforced in the messages sent by senior managers.
The significance of interpersonal skills should also be emphasized in many aspects
of ongoing training. There should be specific provision within initial training, for
example on communication skills and relationship building.
Staff training should enable staff to understand the types of prisoners. They should
be trained to understand the components that make up security and to apply the

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HANDBOOK ON DYNAMIC SECURITY AND PRISON INTELLIGENCE

required security measures with adherence to the principles of procedural and
dynamic security. They should be able to balance the requirements of security with
the need to respect the dignity of all prisoners and to implement positive and constructive regimes. They should receive training on combating conditioning and
manipulation and resisting subtle attempts by prisoners to compromise security
requirements. They should be able to respond appropriately and professionally to
violence and disruptive behaviour in prison using the minimal amount of force.
A significant number of prisoners may present a complex and challenging range of
risks and needs, which may include the co-existence of antisocial personality patterns
or disorder, psychopathy, and substance dependence problems. Staff need to be
trained to work closely with such prisoners, responding appropriately to the complex
risks and needs posed.
Effective prison staff should be able to develop, manage and sustain complex and
variable relationships with prisoners. In the very many cases where the work of prison
staff is done outstandingly well, the staff successfully apply subtle and sophisticated
skills and judgements in their interactions with prisoners. The training provided to
staff should enable them to develop and hone these skills and exercise their judgement in an appropriate manner.

Embedding dynamic security in operational policy
Dynamic security needs to be supported by the development of appropriate policies and procedures, and effective staff recruitment, selection and training by prison department management.
Prison staff should be aware of the advantages of implementing dynamic security in a prison and
how it enhances security beyond the strict application of prison rules and regulations.
Romanian Prison System: Experiences in Prison Security Management—Dynamic Security Presentation at 7th conference of
European Penitentiary Training Academies, 25–27 June 2014, Barcelona, Spain.

In addition to building the concept of effective relationships between staff and prisoners into staff training, prison administrations should ensure that the concept of
effective relationships is translated into reality through the formation and application
of related operational policy.
Central policy provision should promote the role of prison staff in developing and
sustaining constructive relationships with prisoners, in making judgements and in
dealing effectively with fluid and complex situations. This should be particularly
evident in the context of prisoner care (for example, in preventing self-harm and
self-inflicted deaths) and of tackling offending behaviour. But those same assumptions
should also be present in the ways in which central policy on security and control
rely on local application, and on prison staff exercising active judgements and interacting
with prisoners, for example in the de-escalation of potentially dangerous situations.
Policies should seek to support staff by providing clear frameworks and tools with
which to operate; but their success relies on the judgement, discretion and actions
of the individual member of staff.

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DYNAMIC SECURITY 35

Unit management and direct supervision
One example of dynamic security being embedded in operational policy is through
unit management, which is underpinned by direct supervision.
Unit management reflects a decentralised approach to prison management and it plays an integral
role in “dynamic” security. “Dynamic” security refers to the continuous monitoring of prison security
via staff/offender interaction in order to create a safer prison environment.
Department of Justice, Corrective Services, Tasmania—Breaking the Cycle: Tasmanian Corrections Plan (2010-2020), Best
Practice in Offender Rehabilitation, page 4.

Prison systems have historically relied on custodial guards within the prison and on
the perimeter, who rarely came into direct contact with prisoners, and separate
treatment staff who engaged in more positive work with prisoners. This approach
has considerable drawbacks, based on the sharp dichotomy it produces between these
two distinct groups of staff and because custodial staff gained little intelligence from
prisoners. The concept of unit management has been introduced in a number of
jurisdictions, and is based on using frontline prison staff as the main vehicle for both
the custodial and treatment activities of a prison. In many ways, unit management
is therefore a shift from a depersonalized and centralized approach to one that is
personalized and decentralized.
Under unit management, a prison is broken down into defined units, each of which may
contain a number of prisoner accommodation sections and static posts. Multi-disciplinary
teams consisting of disciplinary officials, educationalists, social workers, psychologists,
religious care workers and nurses deliver services in each defined unit. Individual team
members have responsibility for both security and prisoner development outcomes and
are expected to develop constructive relationships with prisoners.

Benefits associated with direct supervision and unit management
•	 A member of staff (case officer) is assigned to specific prisoners and serves as primary
contact point between prisoners and the administration
•	 Increases frequency and quality of relationships between prisoners and staff
•	 Better communication and programme planning
•	 Increased programme flexibility
•	 Decisions about prisoners being made more quickly by people on lower levels who really
know them
•	 More effective observation of prisoner activities resulting in early detection of problems
for intervention
•	 Good quality information received from, and about, prisoners which can be used to
prevent escapes and control problems
•	 Development of correctional and managerial skills of staff
•	 Utilization of a multidisciplinary team improves cooperation between staff from various
disciplines
•	 An improved and more coordinated approach to rehabilitation and development programmes

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HANDBOOK ON DYNAMIC SECURITY AND PRISON INTELLIGENCE

The unit management concept is based on prisons being organized into small, decentralized living units, with staff working in direct contact with prisoners, rather than
in control rooms or towers. Comparative research has shown that without greater
spending on buildings or staffing, this kind of facility reduces levels of assaults and
other serious infractions, and provides settings that are less stressful and more accessible to counselling and rehabilitation programmes.
Daily security routines, such as counting prisoners, searching, and managing prisoner
movement all provide opportunities for staff to have essential contact with prisoners.
By interacting with prisoners in a humane way, prison staff members enhance the
security and good order of a prison.

Corrections in South Africa had always been operated along the lines of the management of the
organisation with little attention being paid to the prisoner as a human being. In many ways,
unit management can be utilised as a vehicle to facilitate a personalised and decentralised
approach. The Department is confident that the Unit Management approach will adequately
integrate rehabilitation programmes and security and that it is a vehicle to deliver a service that
can be expected from a modern Correctional Services.
“Unit Management: An approach to prisoner management”, South African Department of Correctional Services, Conference
for Eastern, Southern and Central African Heads of Correctional Services (CESCA) during September 2001.

Unit management staff members serve important and dual roles in security and programmes. They “walk and talk” to prisoners and familiarize themselves with personalities and identify concerns. They provide heightened surveillance, proactively
intervening to help prevent incidents. Thus, unit management provides each unit with
a sense of group identity and increases the frequency of staff contacts with prisoners
so that small problems can be addressed before they become more serious.
Direct supervision and unit management are inextricably connected. Effective unit
management cannot function without direct supervision, which maximizes staff­
prisoner contact and helps achieve accessibility, communication, intelligence and
surveillance, and staff responsiveness. Through direct supervision, prison staff are
posted within the housing unit rather than in a remote location. As such, they seamlessly negotiate unit operations while managing prisoners, setting and reinforcing
rules and addressing challenges immediately. Direct supervision has been compared
to good parenting. In this analogy, successful parents are those who engage their
children actively. Communication with their children is an exchange of expectations,
rather than commands or orders issued without context or meaning.
Used together, unit management and direct supervision enhance operations, create a
safer, more secure environment and provide opportunities for leadership development.

Gathering information
A fundamental aspect of dynamic security is that it feeds the prison intelligence
system. Prison staff who mix with prisoners observe and listen to what is going on

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DYNAMIC SECURITY 37

and obtain information from prisoners. They are able to feed this information into
the security system so that valuable intelligence is developed. Many escapes, instances
of disorder and criminal activities in prisons and the community have been prevented
through effective dynamic security and information gathering.

Seasoned correctional personnel can develop a sixth sense about the “feel” of certain correctional
environments. They know when something is not right or normal. Gathering intelligence is just
refining those learned traits and reporting and documenting observations, conversations, associations, changes in offenders” actions and behaviors, etc.
Radicalization and Intelligence Gathering In Correctional Institutions (2015).

Where dynamic security operates effectively, staff will be monitoring and reading
their environment and the prisoners within it. The strength of dynamic security is
that it is likely to be proactive in a way that recognizes a threat to security at a very
early stage. The principles of dynamic security apply especially in high-security prisons.
Staff will generally accompany these prisoners whenever they are outside their living
accommodation or moving from one part of the prison to another. The supervision
of these prisoners involves much more than a mere escort function. Staff should
interact with them in as positive a manner as possible.
The subject of prison intelligence is explored in detail in chapters 3 and 4.

Prevention of staff corruption and manipulation
Prisoners often seek to control staff and to make them do things that are prohibited.
There are numerous international examples of staff having been conditioned and
manipulated in ways that have enabled prisoners to escape. There is an increased
risk of manipulation of staff by prisoners where there is frequent contact between
staff and prisoners, as is the case where dynamic security is operating effectively.

A particular problem, however, concerns the degree of distance that prison staff need to maintain
vis-à-vis the prisoners. On the one hand, the demands of security routines easily lead to staff
exercising a high degree of formal control over inmates and keeping them unduly distant. But
the opposite of this state of affairs is equally damaging. Over time, and in well-meaning attempts
to maintain good staff-inmate relations, prison staff may become too close to prisoners with the
result that the latter manipulate the former for improper purposes … Assisting the basic grade
staff to maintain a correct balance is a responsibility of senior supervising staff.
Management by Prison Administrations of Life-Sentence and Other Long-Term Prisoners, Recommendation REC (2003) 23,
Adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 9 October 2003 and Report, para. 77.

In addition to working towards an escape, prisoners may try to manipulate or bribe
staff to acquire illegal articles, such as drugs or mobile phones from outside prison
or to be granted special privileges and powers within prison. Special difficulties may

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HANDBOOK ON DYNAMIC SECURITY AND PRISON INTELLIGENCE

arise in the case of prisoners sentenced for organized crime or terrorism. Such prisoners can seek to manipulate staff to carry out serious criminal activities.
Such risks can be countered by the proper training of staff, as stated earlier. There is
also a need to ensure an appropriate degree of mobility and rotation for staff so that
they are not exposed to contact with these prisoners for unduly long periods. Clear
procedures to deter and detect staff corruption, including the routine and random
targeted searching of all staff entering prisons and a functioning system of disciplinary
measures against staff who engage in corrupt or other illegal activities are also key
components of strategies that aim to prevent staff corruption and manipulation.
It should also be noted that the management of prisoners is always weakened if they
can exploit staff conflicts, which often arise due to staff ’s different approaches and
actions in relation to the treatment of prisoners. The ideal is to prevent staff conflicts
before they lead to a damaging imbalance between different approaches to the treatment of prisoners, usually between that of sympathetic relations and that of firmness
and control. Regular meetings and discussions should be arranged between the different staff categories in order to achieve and maintain a proper balance between
these two approaches to prevent visible conflicts.
Another important precaution against corruption is to ensure that prison staff who
come into contact with prisoners receive a satisfactory level of pay and that they
enjoy appropriate working conditions. This can prevent staff from being vulnerable
to bribes. Good pay also ensures that staff are satisfied and function better, carrying
out their duties more effectively, including the prevention of escapes and maintenance
of good order and discipline in prisons.
Prison staff who have reason to believe that a violation of the ethical code has
occurred or suspect it is about to occur shall report the matter to their superior
authorities and, where necessary, to other appropriate authorities.14 This action is
often referred to as “whistle-blowing”. Doing so may put staff in a particularly vulnerable position where they may be intimidated or ostracized by other staff or managers. In order to encourage staff to report misconduct, appropriate protection
measures should be put in place. These may include guarantees of confidentiality,
support from senior management, reassurance to potential “whistle-blowers” that
their information is valued and that they will not be treated adversely should they
have the courage to raise their concerns. Any security information report (SIR)15
submitted in relation to staff corruption or manipulation should be treated as a
“closed SIR” and its circulation restricted.

Constructive activities for prisoners
Another aspect of dynamic security is ensuring that prisoners are kept occupied in
constructive activities during their sentence. Involving prisoners in constructive activities has two benefits related to dynamic security. First, keeping prisoners fully
engaged reduces the time that they have to be disruptive and to plan escape attempts.
14 
See for example, Council of Europe—Recommendation CM/Rec(2012)5 of the Committee of Ministers to
member States on the European Code of Ethics for Prison Staff, article 35.
15 
Security information reports (SIRs) are discussed in chapter 4.

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DYNAMIC SECURITY 39

It also ensures that prisoners channel their energy in a constructive manner and are
tired at the end of the day, thereby reducing their motivation to engage in disorder.
Secondly, it gives prison staff an opportunity to engage prisoners while they are
participating in the activities, which contributes to establishing positive relationships
and enables staff to gather intelligence.
Providing a full range of constructive activities for prisoners plays an important part in … the
“dynamic security” of the prison. This means that, if prisoners are fully and productively engaged
in constructive activities, the prison is likely to be safer and more secure.
Human Rights and Prisons: A Manual on Human Rights Training for Prison Officials, vol. I, Office of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights, 2005, page 98.

Channelling prisoners’ energy into positive activities is an essential element of dynamic
security principles. Each individual should be provided with the opportunity to
develop him or herself personally in job skills and education, among others, while
also being offered a chance to address psychosocial issues which may have contributed to his or her criminal activity. Therefore, it is of great importance that constructive activities and programmes are offered to prisoners as an essential component
of their sentence plans.
Constructive regimes includes a balanced programme of activities, including work,
vocational training, education, recreation, religious and cultural activities and sport,
as well as programmes that address the specific criminogenic and mental health needs
of individual prisoners, and which may include courses, group work or individual
counselling.
International Covenant On Civil And Political Rights
Article 10 (3)
The penitentiary system shall comprise treatment of prisoners the essential aim of which shall be
their reformation and social rehabilitation.
United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners
(the Nelson Mandela Rules)
Rule 4
(1)  The purposes of a sentence of imprisonment or similar measures deprivative of a person’s
liberty are primarily to protect society against crime and to reduce recidivism. Those purposes can
be achieved only if the period of imprisonment is used to ensure, so far as possible, the reintegration of such persons into society upon release so that they can lead a law-abiding and self­
supporting life.
(2)  To this end, prison administrations and other competent authorities should offer education,
vocational training and work, as well as other forms of assistance that are appropriate and available, including those of a remedial, moral, spiritual, social and health- and sports-based nature.
All such programmes, activities and services should be delivered in line with the individual treatment
needs of prisoners.
See also Rules 91 and 92.

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Principles And Best Practices On The Protection Of Persons Deprived Of Liberty In The
Americas
Principle XIII
Education and cultural activities
Persons deprived of liberty shall have the right to education, which shall be accessible to all,
without any discrimination, with due consideration to cultural diversity and special needs.
…
Places of deprivation of liberty shall have libraries with sufficient books, newspapers, and educational magazines, with the appropriate equipment and technology, according to available resources.
Persons deprived of liberty shall have the right to take part in cultural, sporting, and social activities, and shall have opportunities for healthy and constructive recreation. Member States shall
encourage the participation of the family, the community, and non-governmental organizations in
these activities, in order to promote the reform, social readaptation, and rehabilitation of persons
deprived of liberty.
Principle XIV
Work
All persons deprived of liberty shall have the right to work, to have effective opportunities of
work, and to receive a fair and equitable remuneration, in accordance with their physical and
mental capacities, in order to promote the reform, rehabilitation and social readaptation of convicted persons, to stimulate and encourage the culture of work, and to combat idleness in places
of deprivation of liberty. Such labor shall never be of an afflictive nature.
…
Member States shall promote, progressively and to the maximum of their available resources,
vocational orientation and the development of projects of technical or professional training in
places of deprivation of liberty. They shall also ensure the implementation of permanent, sufficient
and suitable labor workshops while promoting the participation and the cooperation with society
and private enterprises.

Activities offered should be of an interesting and demanding character. Undemanding,
dull, routine tasks will increase and not reduce the sense of waiting for meaningless
time to pass. Purposeful activities can provide intellectual and emotional stimulation
and be of practical use in making prisoners physically tired and less able/inclined to
attempt to escape.
Offering prisoners a programme of individualized, constructive activities may not be
easy in jurisdictions where resources are scarce. However, prison administrations need
to work towards implementing constructive regimes, using their resources creatively,
and to this end, they may benefit immensely from forming partnerships with suitable
civil society organizations and academic institutions to deliver activities and
programmes.
Many prisoners will have turned to crime because of their low income and the lack
of a steady job, often coupled with lack of education. Prison may offer them a first
opportunity to acquire new job skills and become accustomed to the discipline of
regular work, which will contribute significantly to their ability to live crime-free lives
following release from prison.

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DYNAMIC SECURITY 41

Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners
Principle 6
All prisoners have the right to take part in cultural activities and education aimed at the full
development of the human personality.
Principle 8
Conditions shall be created enabling prisoners to undertake meaningful remunerated employment
which will facilitate their reintegration into the country’s labour market and permit them to contribute to their own financial support and to that of their families.”
See also United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules), Rules 96 to
103; European Prison Rules (2006), Rule 26 to 28, and Principles and Best Practices on the Protection of Persons Deprived
of Liberty in the Americas, Principles XIII and IIV.

The organization and methods of work in the institutions must resemble as closely as
possible those of similar work outside institutions, to protect prisoners’ fundamental
rights relating to work and working conditions and to prepare prisoners for the conditions
of normal occupational life. This also means that prison work should not be of an afflictive nature, and no prisoner should be required to work for the personal benefit of prison
staff. Prisoners must receive wages for their work which, as far as possible, are equivalent
to wages received for the same type of work in the  community.
Many prisoners have few educational qualifications. A significant proportion is illiterate
or semi-illiterate. Often, their involvement in crime is associated with their low educational levels. Education can help such prisoners overcome such basic and existential
needs. It can be a vital avenue towards renewed self-respect and hope for a positive
return to society. Education is seen as an essential aid to social reintegration, with a
number of studies showing that it is instrumental in reducing rates of reoffending
following release. International standards require that all prisoners be offered an
opportunity to improve their educational levels, as a fundamental component of strategies that aim to enable their social reintegration. Education provided should, depending on the needs of prisoners, range from basic literacy classes to higher education.

United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners
(the Nelson Mandela Rules)
Rule 23
(1)  Every prisoner who is not employed in outdoor work shall have at least one hour of suitable
exercise in the open air daily if the weather permits.
See also European Prison Rules (2006), Rule 27 and Principles and Best Practices on the Protection of Persons Deprived of
Liberty in the Americas, Principle XIII.

International norms make clear that all prisoners should have at least one hour of
exercise outside every day, where there is enough space to exert themselves physically.
Sports and physical exercise are very important in maintaining both physical and
mental health, especially for those prisoners who are accommodated in restrictive

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custodial settings. While the exercise area should be secure and easy for staff to
observe, it should be sufficiently large and in the open air. It should have means of
rest and shelter from inclement weather and ideally, it should be provided with a
toilet and drinking water. Prisoners should be able to take exercise together with
other prisoners of the same unit, or others selected on the basis of their risk assessments. They should be provided with sports equipment and, where resources allow,
a gym and facilities to undertake a range of different sports activities. Similar to
security precautions taken in the case of work, prisoners should be searched, supervised and sports equipment carefully accounted for following each session.
Provision of sports and recreational equipment need not place an excessive burden
on prisons. Access to outside space is important, but a ball can provide the basis for
recreation and exercise for a group of prisoners. Activity of this kind is useful for
health, to lower tensions and to good relations in the prison, particularly if staff join
in. In some prisons, it may also be possible to have a small number of personnel
who are qualified physical trainers and can organize activities with prisoners.
Prison administrations will need to take the appropriate security precautions, which
may mean that some higher security prisoners may have to be excluded from certain
types of activity, based on their risk assessment. However, every prisoner should be
offered some activity that can be undertaken in a secure environment. Risks can be
minimized by taking measures such as searching prisoners, including with metal
detectors; accounting for tools; supervision by staff and CCTV cameras; and organizing the activity in small groups in secure units, depending on the nature and level
of risk posed. The principle should be that a proper balance is attained between the
desired level of activity participation and security.
KEY PRINCIPLES
•	 Security also depends on an alert group of staff who interact with and who know their
prisoners; staff developing positive staff-prisoner relationships; staff who have an awareness of what is going on in the prison; and staff who make sure that prisoners are kept
busy doing constructive and purposeful activities.
•	 Prison staff should develop and sustain supportive and productive relationships with prisoners.
•	 Central policy provision should promote the role of prison staff in developing and sustaining constructive relationships with prisoners, in making judgements and in dealing
effectively with fluid and complex situations.
•	 It is imperative that staff working with prisoners have a high level of interpersonal skills.
•	 Dynamic security is most effective where there is a professional and well-trained group of staff.
•	 Unit management and direct supervision enhance operations, create a safer, more secure
environment and provide opportunities for leadership development.
•	 A fundamental aspect of dynamic security is that it feeds the prison intelligence system.
Prison staff who mix with prisoners observe and listen to what is going on and obtain
information from prisoners.
•	 There is an increased risk of manipulation of staff by prisoners where there is frequent
contact between staff and prisoners, so appropriate measures should be put in place to
prevent staff manipulation and corruption.
•	 Channelling prisoners’ energy into positive activities is an essential element of dynamic
security principles. Therefore constructive activities and programmes should be offered to
all prisoners.

Chapter 3
Prison intelligence: definitions,
governance and organization
Importance of prison intelligence
The intelligence function is a critical component of any organization. Within law
enforcement agencies, the military and commercial business, intelligence and analysis
are used by senior managers in the decision-making process. Intelligence helps to
reduce uncertainty and to focus resources in the right areas.16
Imprisonment is not necessarily a deterrent to continued criminal behaviour. Some
prisoners continue with their criminal activity while in prison. This can take the form
of operating illicit businesses, attempting to radicalize other prisoners, and sustaining
gang related activity in the prison. They may also seek to maintain their outside
criminal activity, including directing terrorist operations, operating drug syndicates
and serious crime gangs.
International trends show that criminal networks also continue to exist within prisons.
Criminals make contacts while in prison and, in some cases, extend, their criminality
beyond the prison system. Some prisoners will also plan escapes and initiate activities
intended to undermine the good order of the prison. Others will seek to corrupt or
manipulate staff and attempt to have things smuggled into the prison.
In order to ensure that the prison authorities can identify these activities, all prisons
should have in place a structured prison intelligence system to enable security and
related information to be gathered and evaluated in a secure environment, consistent
with national legislation, in order to meet security and intelligence objectives. All
prison staff should have the responsibility to actively gather security information and
pass this information to the security department. This is a key aspect of dynamic
security and requires staff to actively engage, and maintain professional relationships,
with prisoners if they are to obtain good quality information.
Prison intelligence systems have been in existence for many years. Indeed, although
it has only recently been formalized in many jurisdictions, many of the basic (and
intuitive) approaches of intelligence work are the same. For instance, prison staff
have always attempted to identify the common thread that links clues about what is
16 
See for example, UNODC Toolkit on Police Information and Intelligence Systems for a discussion of the importance of intelligence for policing.

43

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HANDBOOK ON DYNAMIC SECURITY AND PRISON INTELLIGENCE

happening in prison, or keep a mental note of the habits of particular prisoners, or
cultivate special relationships with some prisoners who provide inside information.
This has always been simply considered to be good prison work.
Benefits of effective prison intelligence
•	 Contribute to preventing escapes, riots and disturbances
•	 Identification and prevention of criminal activity and the contravention of prison rules
•	 Identification and prevention of criminal activity in the external community
•	 Detection of staff corruption and smuggling
•	 Identification of organized criminal and/or terrorist groups and the nature of their activity
within the prison system and the individuals in those groups who lead or facilitate
criminal activity
•	 Assessment of the various organized criminal groups’ influence and interrelationship in
the prison system and their influence outside the prison system
•	 Identification of the vulnerabilities in the prison system
•	 Identification of radicalization and extremism in the prison system
•	 Protection of vulnerable prisoners by identifying them and those who prey upon them
•	 Support informed decision-making in the prevention and management of incidents

Sophistication in the use of prison information and intelligence has been steadily
increasing over the last 50 years. Prison information systems, which were formerly
based on the collation of index cards managed by a member of the prison security
team, have evolved. In some jurisdictions, information technology has been introduced into prison security departments using dedicated advanced software and the
skills of trained prison staff analysts. The application of the information has also
become more sophisticated. Intelligence techniques and methodologies have been
developed to identify threats to security and order or to profile existing activity or
high-risk prisoners. In many jurisdictions, prison-based intelligence systems replicate
those that support the work of law enforcement agencies.

Definitions
Intelligence has a number of definitions but can be best defined as:
Predictive, accurate, relevant and timely hypothesis resulting from objective-driven
collection, evaluation, collation and value added analysis of all available relevant
information.
Information + Analysis = Intelligence
In this regard, criminal intelligence can also be defined as:
The product (or service) resulting from the analysis of past and present activity
to predict future activity and suggesting the implementation of alternative courses
of action that may be taken to interdict or minimize the impact of a threatening
crime group or activity.

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PRISON INTELLIGENCE: DEFINITIONS, GOVERNANCE AND ORGANIZATION 45

This definition provides an explanation of criminal intelligence in terms of the analysis of previous and present information to predict future behaviour. Such a service
is useful to investigators, as it has the potential to enhance the investigation by providing leads and defining gaps in information.
All the intelligence process seeks to do is to reduce the element of chance. It should
never be confused with some “magical” ability to read the future.
Intelligence within the prison context can be defined as follows:
The prison intelligence function seeks, through objective strategic and operationally driven planned collection, to identify those prisoners, visitors, staff and
organizations planning to engage in activity, or who are engaged in an activity
that may be a threat to the good order, safety and security of a prison before
the event occurs.
Prison intelligence looks at certain individuals (such as prisoners, prison visitors, staff
employed by the prison administration) and groups of individuals (such as prison
gangs) in order to identify both criminal activity and threats to the good order, safety
and security of the prison.
The objective is to identify threats before they manifest themselves in actions, by
analysing information and reducing uncertainty, so that managers can make appropriate decisions. Such events could be identifying the possibility of escape by a
prisoner; in which case, the prisoner is moved to a more secure institution, their
classification changed or additional measures put in place to manage the risk. Another
example is the trafficking of drugs by a visitor to a prisoner, which should result in
the prisoner being placed on closed (restricted contact) visits or their visitor being
thoroughly searched prior to the visit. It enables, when effective information sharing
takes place with the police, the police to search the visitor prior to a visit and make
an arrest if drugs are in possession.
Prison intelligence can also be used to assist during and after the event, which is
where the greatest interface between intelligence officers and investigators occurs.
For example, tactical intelligence may require an immediate response to events such
as a riot or serious assault within the prison. Depending on the type of event, the
intelligence can take a variety of forms. For example, with a hostage incident the
intelligence could include:
(a)  Incident intelligence—all information about the incident to establish if intervention is required. Includes the “stronghold” for a hostage incident (location of
incident), type of incident and all relevant information pertaining to the matter.
(b)  Tactical information—all information in connection with the incident that is
needed for the tactical teams (such as a hostage response group) and for negotiators to plan their options and strategies.
(c)  Person (or biographical) intelligence—all information in connection with the
person(s) involved, such as the hostage taker, hostages, injured persons. This
information is used to develop a profile on personality type so that incident
commanders can make informed decisions on strategies and options.

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A proper understanding of the differences between intelligence-related terms is important to appreciate how they interact (see terms and definitions in the box below).
Good intelligence can also be used to inform risk-based decision-making. For example,
intelligence can provide evidence of behaviour for decisions related to categorization,
parole reports, temporary release and final release.

Common intelligence-related terms and definitions
Information 	

Data and knowledge in raw form.

Intelligence 	A value-added product derived from the collection, analysing and processing of relevant information, which enables decision makers to
make better-informed decisions from targeting to policy formulation.
In a prison setting, this will be specifically concern decisions related
to potential threats to the security, safety and good order of the
institution.
Prison intelligence	Any information with additional value that can be used by prison or
law enforcement staff.
Tactical intelligence	Assists staff to apply direct activity to a local situation. The intelligence
that is processed enables the deployment of resources to deal with
the identified localized risk.
Operational intelligence	Supports line managers in planning activity and deploying resources
for maximum efficiency within the operational environment.
Strategic intelligence	Supports policy development by providing insight into new and changing threats or opportunities. This helps policymakers develop broad
strategies directed to achieving long-term organizational objectives.
Passive intelligence	

Gathered routinely without setting out to collect the information.

Proactive intelligence	Gathered deliberately, where staff set out to gather specific information about a prisoner or situation.
Analysis	(of either information or intelligence) The resolving or separating of
something into its component parts; identification of those parts; tracing of things to their source to discover the general principles behind
them; a table or statement of the results of this process. In its simplest
form, intelligence analysis is about collecting and utilizing information,
evaluating it to process it into intelligence, and then analysing that
intelligence to produce products to support informed decision-making.
When undertaken effectively, analysis goes beyond the facts. It can
inform prison staff of how good (or poor) the information/intelligence
is; things that they did not know before; what they need to know to
understand a situation; where to look for further information; how to
communicate their understanding of a situation to colleagues in the
prison and to external law enforcement bodies.
Evaluation	The means by which data is transformed into intelligence, involving a
structured process of considering the information with regard to its
context through its source and reliability.

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PRISON INTELLIGENCE: DEFINITIONS, GOVERNANCE AND ORGANIZATION 47

Intelligence products	
Include information reports, intelligence summaries in answer to
requests for information, briefings (verbal and written), risk assessments, profiles (prisoners, prison visitors, groups, locations), intelligence alerts or association charts.

Intelligence policy and organization
The purpose of intelligence gathering on prisoners while in custody is not for the
State to “spy” on them or to infringe on their basic human rights but to ensure that
they do not continue to commit criminal offences while in custody. By developing
prison intelligence, the prison administration is endeavouring to make the custodial
environment as safe and secure as possible for staff, the prisoners themselves and
ultimately the wider community.
The degree to which prison administrations around the world engage in intelligence
gathering varies enormously. Many prisons may have a security department but they
do not always engage in proactive and systematic intelligence gathering. However, in
order to control large numbers of prisoners who are determined and resourceful,
and to minimize their risk to the public and each other, prison managers need quality
intelligence.
At a national level there should be clear policies for the management, collection and
use of prison information and intelligence together with appropriate safeguards. These
should be supported with relevant guidelines and manuals. In order for prison intelligence to develop and become effective, there has to be an acceptance that intelligence gathering is an integral part of running a safe prison.
The national prison administration should be responsible for developing an integrated
system for managing and exchanging prison information and intelligence between
prisons and between prisons and external law enforcement agencies. It may involve
the creation of a national or central coordinating body for prison intelligence and
information. It should also be responsible for the improvement in the technical
infrastructure for the handling and integration of data (including enhancement of
data security). In addition, it should enhance technical facilities available to staff
working with prison information and intelligence (including support for the creation
and development of key prison databases and access to them).
While almost all prisons will have information sources and files of collated information of one kind or another, there is a need to have a uniform structured policy on
how to combine them. Any integrated prison information and intelligence framework
is essential for the effective operation of prison intelligence frameworks.

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Common standards for prison intelligence should cover:
•	 The collection, assessment and analysis of information and intelligence
•	 The recording and logging of information and intelligence
•	 Returning to previously recorded and logged information to analyse and use it
•	 Security of intelligence standards
•	 Reports and briefings

Intelligence gathering should be embedded within the prison administration’s management structures. Good practice is to have a unit based at the prison administration’s headquarters to coordinate intelligence gathering across all of its prisons and
to create dedicated prison intelligence units (PIUs) in each of its prisons. The PIU
may consist of a single prison intelligence officer, or team, who are responsible for
managing local intelligence. The PIU should be part of the prison security team and
accountable to the prison security manager. This PIU should be responsible for the
evaluation, collation, evaluation and dissemination of intelligence. Good practice is
to establish a prison intelligence management board (PIMB) to oversee the work of
the PIU by setting priorities and ensuring that their activities are lawful and
proportionate.

Prison intelligence units provide:
•	 Advice on tactical, operational and strategic intelligence matters via the provision of
various intelligence products (e.g. related to security threat groups, individual high-risk
offenders, contraband, serious prison incidents, etc.)
•	 Support to other prisons, which contributes to achieving an incident-free environment
•	 Relevant and timely information to achieve a corruption-free working environment
•	 Key security areas with relevant information to undertake specific targeting operations
•	 A central repository for prison intelligence for use by the prison administration and other
law enforcement agencies
•	 Training on intelligence-related subjects for all staff
•	 Intelligence products and investigative assistance to the prison administration and other
law enforcement agencies

Due to the sensitive nature of prison information and intelligence (especially with
regard to staff corruption), those chosen to work in the area need to have higher
credentials in terms of integrity than in some other prison roles. Staff working in
intelligence units are sometimes subjected to enhanced security vetting that investigates their background and assesses the risk that they may pose.
The professional development of specialist prison intelligence staff (especially with
respect to the skills of analytical staff and intelligence managers) is a key role for
prison staff training institutions. Not only do the staff of the PIUs need to be trained
but all prison staff should be trained and briefed as to their responsibilities in contributing to the intelligence gathering process.

CHAPTER 3

PRISON INTELLIGENCE: DEFINITIONS, GOVERNANCE AND ORGANIZATION 49

There is no doubt that creating an effective prison intelligence structure is a big
commitment but, in the long term, good intelligence will allow limited resources to
be focused where they are most needed.

Essential requirements for a prison intelligence function
•	 People: Staff must be recruited, selected and placed where they are the most effective.
•	 Organization: The prison intelligence unit (PIU) must be developed and flexible to allow
for change in priorities and projects.
•	 Supply: The PIU must be appropriately resourced with the best technology, infrastructure
and facilities.
•	 Training: A dedicated training programme must exist within the PIU to train selected staff
both within the PIU and the prisons.
•	 Equipment: This relates directly to the purchase of equipment for the PIU function such
as scanners, digital cameras, communications equipment, mobile phone readers.
•	 Doctrine: This is the guiding principle for the operation of a PIU, which includes standard
operating procedures, and a defined command structure both within and outside a PIU.

Putting in place effective safeguards
Prison information and intelligence can be heavily constrained by legislation that
governs the type of information prison staff may hold, the purposes for which it may
be held and how it should be handled.
There may be laws that completely prevent any third party from knowing the content
of government databases, including those of the prison system, or there may be
freedom of information laws which, conversely, provide considerable access to them.
However, there will always be some proportion of the information that may not be
disseminated outside of those especially involved in it—whether because of cultural
preferences for controlling information or because of operational reasons (for example, not letting someone know that he or she is under suspicion).
The sensitive nature of some prison information and intelligence, and the intrusive
techniques that may sometimes be used to collect it, afford a particular importance
to any supervisory mechanisms and security measures put in place. These will usually
be contained within legislation or codes of practice and procedure. See for example,
the European Prison Rules, Rule 24.

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European Prison Rules
Rule 24
(2)  Communication and visits may be subject to restrictions and monitoring necessary for the
requirements of continuing criminal investigations, maintenance of good order, safety and security,
prevention of criminal offences and protection of victims of crime, but such restrictions, including
specific restrictions ordered by a judicial authority, shall nevertheless allow an acceptable minimum
level of contact.
(3)  National law shall specify national and international bodies and officials with whom communication by prisoners shall not be restricted.
See also United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules), Rules 61(1) and
84(1)(c), for the right of prisoners to private and fully confidential communication with certain parties, such as legal advisers
and prison inspectors

Monitoring should be proportionate to the threat posed by a particular form of communication and should not be used as an indirect way of restricting communication.

The European Court of Human Rights has held that the indiscriminate and routine checking of
prisoners’ correspondence violates Article 8.14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Jankauskas v. Lithuania [2005], European Court of Human Rights, 59304/00.

Every country will have something referred to as “classified information” that is
considered to be sensitive or secret. This will normally be “protectively marked” by
having labels attached such as “confidential” or “secret”. Where information has been
classified under one of these headings, special handling restrictions will be enacted
and access will only be given to people with the appropriate level of clearance.
The special handling restrictions may define not only who can see the classified
information, but also the conditions under which they may see it, in what medium
it may be stored, how it may be transmitted and how it must be destroyed.

A multi-agency approach
It is important to remember that prison intelligence should be part of a broader law
enforcement intelligence system. The volume and quality of information exchanged,
and the speed with which requests are answered, will be indicative of the level of
cooperation. Prison intelligence can be vital to law enforcement operations outside
prison. Similarly, intelligence from outside law enforcement agencies can be very
important to understand what is happening in prison. In recent years, there have
been some important developments concerning the use of prison-generated intelligence by other law enforcement agencies.

CHAPTER 3

PRISON INTELLIGENCE: DEFINITIONS, GOVERNANCE AND ORGANIZATION 51

Prisons and prison intelligence units do not exist in isolation. Offenders are usually
committed to prison only after investigation by the police and after trial by a court.
At the point an offender enters prison, there is a wealth of information already held
on the individual by the police, the judiciary, social services and other agencies. It
is essential that, at this point, the prison intelligence unit captures all the available
intelligence on an offender and creates a prisoner profile for him or her. To do this
effectively, it is essential that there is a good working relationship between the prison
intelligence unit and their police counterparts. Most police services will have an
intelligence department that will gather and process prisoner-related intelligence.
The relationship between prison and police intelligence units is one that is often
ignored or neglected but it is essential if the State is going to manage and rehabilitate prisoners during their imprisonment and upon release into the community.
This core relationship is best established and maintained by creating single points
of contact within each organization and by embedding police officers in prison units
or prison officers in police units. In advanced structures, some police services maintain dedicated joint intelligence units to mirror, enhance and support the work of
prison intelligence units. See the section below for further information on joint
intelligence units.
The aim of any prison administration should be to rehabilitate prisoners. Social
services and probation services are integral to this process and should have good
working relationships both with intelligence units, particularly when managing the
release of prisoners into the community.

Uses of prison-generated intelligence by other law enforcement agencies
•	 Timely and actionable prison intelligence can make a significant impact on the prevention,
reduction and investigation of serious and organized crime, particularly when it is of a
transnational nature. (“Timely” means that it is provided in good time and “actionable”
means that its detail and reliability supports the taking of action).
•	 Prison intelligence can play a significant role in helping with directing and prioritizing
resources in the prevention, reduction and detection of all forms of crime.
•	 Prison intelligence can contribute to an effective policing model—often termed “intelligence­
led policing”—where intelligence is essential for providing strategic direction and is central
to the deployment of staff for all forms of tactical policing activity, including community
policing and routine patrols.

Best practice is to set out in a document (for example, a memorandum of understanding, protocol or agreement) the agreed arrangements for the exchange of information and intelligence. There is a danger that information and intelligence held will
undoubtedly be fragmented and duplicated. Strong information exchange mechanisms can help to mitigate this.
Facilities for the use of technical surveillance, such as telephone interception and
listening devices, can sometimes be concentrated in national security agencies. In
such cases, good cooperation between agencies to share resources is critical.

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Prison-based police intelligence officers
In some jurisdictions, the police services (national, federal or local) base a number
of police officers in prisons. These police officers are responsible for managing prison
intelligence collection. They act as the single point of contact for all police activity
related to the prison in which they are based and oversee requests received from law
enforcement agencies in relation to intelligence and evidence. These police officers
also liaise with a prison’s security unit to obtain advice, arrange authorizations and
facilitate access to prisoner-related information.

Police liaison officers based in prison can provide:
•	 Prisoner sentence planning, movement and release information
•	 Updates on current and emerging organized crime networks and individuals, including
alliances, tensions, continued activity and future intent
•	 Intelligence collection to support the development of subject profiles
•	 Logistical and planning support for debriefing within prisons
•	 Guidance on the use of prison intelligence products
•	 Overt and covert tactical advice and support for prisoner movement to court or to other
prisons
•	 Access to information on special interest prisoner groups such as violent extremist
prisoners, protected witnesses, high escape-risk prisoners and prisoners who require
multi-agency public protection arrangements

Covert surveillance
Covert surveillance is a particularly intrusive method for collecting information. The
use of covert surveillance measures involves a careful balancing of a prisoner’s right
to privacy against the need to investigate serious criminality.
Covert surveillance
In those societies where the authorities exercise forceful control over the populations, the use of
these techniques may be indiscriminate. Other systems will require a number of strict safeguards
against abuse including the requirement that the offence be serious, that the use of the technique
be vital to the case and that essential evidence cannot be secured by less intrusive means. Judicial
or independent oversight is common and is required under international human rights law.
UNODC—Policing: Crime Investigation, Criminal Justice Assessment Toolkit, 2006, p. 13.

Provisions on covert surveillance should fully take into account the rights of the
prisoner. There have been various decisions of international human rights bodies and
courts on the permissibility of covert surveillance and the parameters of these measures. There should be a number of strict safeguards against abuse. Judicial or independent approval and oversight is common and is required under international
human rights law.

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PRISON INTELLIGENCE: DEFINITIONS, GOVERNANCE AND ORGANIZATION 53

Case example—United Kingdom
The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) came into force in 2000 and provides prisons
with a power to use covert surveillance. The legislation and associated Codes of Practice provide
the framework for the use of covert surveillance and the application within prisons.
•	 All prisons can request the use of covert surveillance where it is necessary and proportionate to do so for the purposes of preventing or detecting crime/serious crime, preventing
disorder, or on the grounds of public safety.
•	 All prisons will have trained staff in the key roles to ensure that covert surveillance is
undertaken in accordance with the law.
•	 The use of covert surveillance will be an integral part of the intelligence gathering system
within prisons.
•	 Covert surveillance will assist with the maintenance of control in prisons and allow
managers to take informed decisions.
•	 Compliance with RIPA across the whole prison estate and for this to be confirmed
annually by the Office of Surveillance Commissioners (OSC).

Covert surveillance of a prisoner’s cell (intrusive surveillance) should be authorized
by the appropriate judicial or administrative body. If it is in response to a hostage
incident in a cell, surveillance should be authorized by an official in the prison
administration. Covert surveillance of a public area (directed surveillance) should be
authorized at the level of the prison administration. Any planned use of covert surveillance in prisons by the police or other investigating agency should first be considered by the prison administration before the operation can proceed. All covert
activity should be recorded in writing.

Covert surveillance techniques deployed in prison settings
•	 Recording of telephone calls
•	 Interception of post/mail
•	 Use of listening devices
•	 Use of tracking devices
•	 Use of dedicated surveillance teams
•	 Use of photographic surveillance
•	 Use of video surveillance
•	 Covert search of letters, packages and parcels
•	 Use of tracking and positioning devices

Audio-visual surveillance should not be used to infringe the confidentiality and professional secrecy of a prisoner’s meetings with lawyers, or their right to privacy during
medical examinations. Video surveillance, and especially video recording, should be accompanied by safeguards, including in relation to storage of and access to the footage.
The use of audio-visual surveillance can also be extended to monitoring staff to
prevent and detect corruption and manipulation. Appropriate safeguards and controls
should always be put in place.

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HANDBOOK ON DYNAMIC SECURITY AND PRISON INTELLIGENCE

Use of prisoner informants
The use of informants or human sources for gathering information and intelligence
is age-old. While informants may provide information that may not otherwise be
available to prison management, the use of informants in prison is particularly dangerous for the informant and is also open to possible abuse. Informants may have
many different motivations. They may, on the one hand, be prisoners seeking reward
(financial or early release), or, on the other, hardened criminals seeking to oust the
opposition. Information may be provided as a bargaining chip for some personal
advantage (special job in the prison, additional privileges, temporary release, early
release), or be traded for cash. Not all prisoners make good informants and their
motives may be questionable.
Because of the secrecy involved in handling informants, and the privileges or money
they may receive, there is an enormous potential for abuse. Generally speaking, the
reliability and source of any information provided by an informant needs to be carefully assessed and, where possible, corroborated, in order to provide a “rating” for
its accuracy and validity. Each time a prison informant offers information, the officer
should question his or her motives and record the information. A set of guidelines
to assess the reliability of prisoner informants assists in facilitating good management.
At the same time, it must also be recognized that the prison authorities owe a duty
of care to their informants and must protect them from retribution.

Safeguards required when using prisoner informants
•	 How they should be managed
•	 Rules about interacting and debriefing informants
•	 Recording of their details in a confidential file held in a secure location (e.g. assignment
of code numbers instead of names, storage in a safe in the director’s office)
•	 Ensuring that personal details of informants are known only to those dealing with them,
e.g. by appointing a senior officer with responsibility for supervision of informant
handling
•	 Providing special training on the use of informants
•	 Specifying which members of prison staff are permitted to manage informants
•	 Reward system and processes for informants

All information gathered from human intelligence sources should be authorized and
carried out in accordance with current national legislation. All sources should have
a handler, and the handler should report to a controller. The controller should, in
turn, report to the system manager, who should ensure that all sources are
registered.

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PRISON INTELLIGENCE: DEFINITIONS, GOVERNANCE AND ORGANIZATION 55

KEY PRINCIPLES
•	 Intelligence informs actions in the prevention and detection of risks to prison security and
the wider community.
•	 Strategic and operational intelligence is developed, evaluated and disseminated
appropriately.
•	 Intelligence assessments identify local security priorities and objectives and inform the
management of risk.
•	 Staff are aware of the security, professional and personal standards expected of them.
•	 Security intelligence contributes to corruption prevention.
•	 Information locally obtained or received from other establishments and agencies, is
recorded, stored, accessed and handled lawfully, and in a way that ensures fair treatment
for all.
•	 Intelligence developed as a result of communication interception is shared legally and
appropriately.
•	 Security records are created and updated as required by the receiving/holding prison.
•	 Security information and intelligence is transferred securely, legally and in a timely manner
to receiving prisons.
•	 The interception of communications and the retention and dissemination of material
obtained is lawful.
•	 Targeted interception of prisoner mail and monitoring of prisoner telephone calls for
security intelligence purposes is authorized and proportionate to the threat posed.
•	 Directed and intrusive covert surveillance is always authorized, managed and recorded.
•	 Use of covert human intelligence sources (informants) is authorized, securely managed
and recorded.
•	 Information obtained by informants and surveillance is shared securely with identified
stakeholders.

Chapter 4
Prison intelligence: cycle, process
and components
Intelligence is information to which “something” has been added. That “something”
is the intelligence process. The intelligence process reduces the element of chance.
It should not be confused with some “magical” ability to read the future, and is only
ever advisory. It is about interpreting information to give it a meaning. At its simplest,
intelligence might be described as processed information. Within the prison and law
enforcement context, intelligence can be described as information that has been
processed—acquired, exploited and protected—to decide upon and support criminal
or disciplinary investigations or staff interventions to prevent/eliminate threats to the
good order and security of the prison.
It is important to remember that the burden of proof, when dealing with information
analysed as part of the intelligence process, is different to the evidentiary burden
required in the criminal courts of many jurisdictions. Anyone using intelligence should
keep in mind that, unless or until conclusively proved by further facts, conclusions
reached by way of the intelligence process are presumptions on the author’s part.
The intelligence process
consists of a series of
functions which, in their
totality, validate and provide broader meaning to
raw
information. The
functions in sequence are
tasking, collection, evaluation, collation, analysis,
dissemination, and re-­
evaluation. This sequence
of functions is also referred
to as the intelligence cycle,
by which raw information
is converted into useful
intelligence that can be
used for decision-making.

1.
TASK
7.
REEVALUATE

6.
DISSEMINATE

2.
COLLECT

The
intelligence
cycle

5.
ANALYSE

57

4.
COLLATE

3.
EVALUATE

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HANDBOOK ON DYNAMIC SECURITY AND PRISON INTELLIGENCE

Tasking (also known as directing)
The first phase of the intelligence cycle involves tasking and giving direction. Intelligence analysis is driven by the needs of the consumer of the analytical product, i.e.
in this case the prison administration. The analytical effort is thus directed through
tasking by prison management, which takes the initiative at this stage of the cycle.
This being said, the principle of partnership requires that both the consumer and
the provider share a responsibility for working together to ensure that the requirements for the analytical product are clearly defined and understood by both sides.
Accordingly, tasking (directing) involves the formulation and prioritization of the
prison administration’s information needs; identifying and organizing personnel and
resources; developing a collection plan; and assigning tasks to various prison operators
and intelligence staff. The prison administration should have an overarching tasking
and coordination process for intelligence gathering in all of its establishments. It
should also appoint a senior officer to lead on security and intelligence matters. This
officer needs to create a subcommittee comprising the heads of each prison intelligence management board, with representatives from the police and probation service.
It is this subcommittee that agrees on the security and intelligence strategic priorities
for the department as a whole and for individual establishments.
The prison administration should also make clear that everyone who comes into
contact with prisoners and the prison is “tasked” with reporting information and any
concerns relating to security.
Information required by security departments
Most prison systems will have similar requirements and authorize their staff to collect and report
intelligence which relates to:
•	 Escape planning
•	 Organized gang-related activity
•	 Drug trafficking
•	 Planned assaults on staff or other prisoners
•	 Illicit communications via mobile phone and Internet
•	 Radicalization and violent extremist activity
•	 Bullying of vulnerable prisoners
•	 Risks to safety and security, order and control of the prison

In addition, some prisons might have specific specialized requirements. In some
countries, sex offenders are housed in separate prisons or units and there may be a
need to focus on sex offenders to prevent them from using illicit communications
to continue committing offences while in prison. Where there are large numbers of
terrorist prisoners, there will inevitably be greater focus on radicalization and extremist behaviour.
Once the security and intelligence priorities are set, the security and intelligence
subcommittee should inform their prison intelligence units/joint intelligence units

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PRISON INTELLIGENCE: CYCLE, PROCESS AND COMPONENTS 59

and members of staff so that everyone is clear of the objectives and that they have
a lawful and proportionate mandate.

Collection
Any intelligence process is only as good as the information that is collected. Information collection is the directed, focused gathering of information through overt and
covert means, from all possible sources. These may include prison databases; court
documents; information from staff, prisoners and third parties (e.g. law enforcement
agencies); other prison units, e.g. security units, investigators and escort units; footage
from cameras; the results of searches; the media and social networks; and any other
source legally accessible to the intelligence unit.

Importance of prison staff in information collection
In some ways, the prison environment lends itself to basic intelligence collection,
as the principal subjects are incarcerated. Within the prison context, information
gathering is primarily through prison staff. They are the most important (and often
most underutilized) source for prison intelligence, as staff are in constant contact
with prisoners and are the first to attend incidents. Staff may be told something
by a prisoner, have observed something, heard something or read something. The
more developed the concept of prison intelligence is, the greater the volume of
information and intelligence contributed by these staff. One of the key benefits
of dynamic security, as discussed in chapter 2, is that prison staff are able to
gather information from prisoners during routine activity. All prison staff should
be alert, aware and report information through their chain of command or to the
intelligence officer so that the information can be considered in the ongoing intelligence cycle.

Role of prison staff in gathering information
Prison staff gather information by being vigilant at all times, by reporting anything out of the
ordinary and by forming professional working relationships with prisoners built on trust and respect.
For example:
•	 Overhearing a conversation
•	 Watching what prisoners do
•	 Observing who prisoners talk to—patterns of association
•	 Looking out for patterns of behaviour and frequent actions
•	 Identifying unusual activity or predictors of disruptive behaviour
•	 Watching for physical changes (obscured views due to placing of physical objects in the
line of sight)
•	 Monitoring telephone calls and letters
•	 Observations during searching—hoarding of goods and clothes
•	 Unusual requests or incidents

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Staff receiving such information should submit relevant security information reports,
or other paperwork, to add to the intelligence system and a source evaluation will
take place by a member of the security team.
Information can also come from external law enforcement agencies, government
departments, non-governmental organizations (for example, aid charities), or a prisoner’s family or friends. The potential sources of information are almost unlimited.
Sources available rely on the intelligence practitioner’s general and local knowledge
and contacts that have been established and maintained over time.

Areas of collection within the prison environment
There are four main areas of collection within the prison environment in relation
to prisoners: nominal data, visitor data, communications data and security behaviour
data.
Nominal data—by the time an individual is convicted or remanded to prison they
have usually already been through a police and court process. This will mean that
basic biological data and background checks have already been done. These may
include the prisoner’s photograph; fingerprints; DNA; date of birth; passport or
identity document; scars and tattoos; addresses lived at; names of family members;
names of associates; gang or group affiliation; and telephone and e-mail contact
details. As soon as a prisoner enters the prison system, a personal nominal file should
be opened for him or her and it should contain as much of the aforementioned data
as possible.17 It is also good practice that every prisoner has an additional security
file, where information or intelligence relating to the individual’s security risk or
behaviour can be recorded. This should be retained in a separate file or folder,
whether in a paper or electronic system.
Visitor data—most prisoners will receive visits from family, friends and associates.
Some visitors are a potential threat to the good order and security of a prison, as
they can smuggle contraband, assist prisoners in escaping and passing messages to
intimidate witnesses, destroy evidence or otherwise pervert the course of justice. As
such, visitors need to be carefully managed and vetted before being allowed to visit
an offender. Where a jurisdiction’s infrastructure allows, it is good practice that all
visitors are required to submit an application form stating their relationship to the
prisoner, and that they produce original identification documents and a verified
address before they are allowed to visit. The date and time of every visit should also
be recorded.
Communications data—in order to maintain good order and discipline in a prison, to
prevent crimes being committed by prisoners, and escapes from custody, it is essential
to monitor internal communications between prisoners and also external communications between prisoners and their contacts outside of the prison. In the past, the
main forms of prisoner communications were through fixed line telephones or written
letters, which were relatively easy for prison authorities to monitor. However, since
the rapid expansion of the use of mobile phones, many of which now provide connection to the Internet, prison establishments around the world have struggled to
17 
See UNODC Handbook on Prisoner File Management (2008) for a detailed description of information that
should be collected when a prisoner arrives at a prison.

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PRISON INTELLIGENCE: CYCLE, PROCESS AND COMPONENTS 61

control communication by prisoners to their families, and, in some cases, also to
their criminal contacts. A prison can only begin to control prisoner communications
by employing a strict search regime for prisoners, visitors and prison staff in order
to prevent mobile telephones (and other illicit items) being smuggled into the institution. Where resources and technology allow, consideration should be given to using
mobile telephone “blockers” or collaboration with mobile telephone service providers
to disconnect illicit mobile telephones being used inside prisons. Unless such measures are taken, there is considerable evidence to show that some prisoners will use
mobile telephones to carry on their criminal activities from inside prison, including
the intimidation of witnesses, trafficking of drugs and even murder. Mobile phones
can also be used to orchestrate escapes, riots and hostage-taking. Where illicit mobile
telephones are seized, the proper handling and analysis of calls may assist investigators
and prevent crime. Chapter 1 (page 21) contains a more detailed discussion of
communication and surveillance issues and safeguards.
Security behaviour data—every frontline member of prison staff should be trained to
observe and report any prisoner behaviour that could impact on security. During a
tour of duty, prison staff will be in a position to identify gang groups and their
hierarchy. They will know which prisoners habitually carry weapons or drugs and
other illicit items. Most importantly, they will be able to identify individual or group
behaviour which is out of the norm. This activity should be reported in the form of
security intelligence reports (see the section on security information reports on
page   62 below and annex 1 for further details) or the equivalent, so that the information can be formally recorded, assessed and shared.

Information collection planning
There will be occasions when the prison intelligence unit wishes to have further
information about an emerging issue or particular prisoner or prisoner group. Information collection is a time-consuming process. The amount of time spent collecting
information can be minimized and effectively controlled through careful planning
before the collection process begins. Planning for the information collection process
provides the effort with an organized and definitive focus, boundaries and limitations
on the type and volume of information to be sought. The plan also provides information on cost, risk, and outlines potential sources of information and the use of
the information that is to be collected.

Benefits of an information collection plan
•	 Provides a focused information collection methodology
•	 Defines the amount of information to be collected
•	 Minimizes time spent collecting irrelevant information
•	 Outlines from where and from whom the information shall be sourced
•	 Nominates who is responsible for collecting the information

The information collection plan is a disciplined process that ensures that the relevant
sources are used to provide information for the development of the intelligence

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product. The plan can facilitate a coordinated and focused investigation by clearly
identifying what information is required and who is responsible for obtaining it.

Avenues of inquiry
The potential avenues of inquiry available to any intelligence practitioner are almost
unlimited. Some inquiries are regulated by policy and others will rely on the networks
that have been established and maintained over time. The amount of information
sources available will depend largely on the personal ingenuity of the individual
intelligence practitioner.
An avenue of inquiry is merely the art of knowing what information is required and
then knowing where and how to get it in the shortest possible time. This knowledge
and ability can simplify an investigation and assist in the prevention of crime or other
incident in the prison. This is not a science and simply depends on the personal
knowledge and life experiences of the intelligence practitioner.
The range of avenues of inquiry will very much depend upon the nature of the
inquiry that is being worked on. The nature of the investigation will be divided into
(a) covert and (b) overt investigation (the difference being whether the investigator
is concerned if the suspect or person under investigation is aware of interest by the
security department). The issue of covert surveillance within a prison setting was
discussed in chapter 3.

Security information reports
If information is properly recorded it can be invaluable. If it is not recorded accurately, it may be forgotten, misquoted or exaggerated—potentially producing more
harm than good. Good practice is for there to be a standardized form on which
prison staff can submit gathered information—sometimes called a security information report or just information report.
As the report contains information that others may use in the future, care must be
taken in its preparation to ensure future readers cannot draw false conclusions
through poorly worded or incomplete information. The best way to ensure accuracy
is to detail the circumstances of what, where, when and how the information has
been obtained. Reporting staff members should also include any steps taken in reaching their conclusion.
Care must also be taken to maintain the confidentiality of the source. Good sources
of information are often few and far between. Breaking confidentiality can result in
the source refusing to provide further information or, at worst, could place the source
at risk of harm in the future. To evaluate the information, the security department
must know the identity of the source (unless it is from a covert informant source—
see the section on the use of prisoner informants on page  54) but care must be
taken not to reveal the identity of the prisoner giving information to staff who do
not need to know.
The responsibility for acting on the content of information reports will generally fall
to a person other than the author, so it is important that they are as complete as
possible before submission and distribution. Security information reports, as the name

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PRISON INTELLIGENCE: CYCLE, PROCESS AND COMPONENTS 63

suggests, are a source of information, and therefore take their place at the commencement of the intelligence process.
Intelligence practitioners, particularly within the prison environment, should take
every opportunity to promote the submission of information reports among the
frontline members within their units and/or departments.
All information has a potential investigative or intelligence use. It is only when the
security department pieces together the puzzle of different pieces of information that
it can make sense of it and the real value becomes known. Anything that an individual feels is unusual or not the norm should be submitted and the security will
record and decide if it is valuable.
Information received from any source in hard copy format should be transcribed
onto a security information report. All documents and security information reports
must be assigned a security classification. Any information received which falls outside
the prison administration’s remit should be forwarded to the appropriate agency as
soon as possible.
A suggested format for security information reports and guidance on completing
SIRs is contained in annex 1.
Key tests of the effectiveness of information gathering
•	 Are prison staff able to submit an intelligence log (either on paper or electronically) as a
matter of routine?
•	 Are they encouraged to do so?
•	 Is there any kind of performance measure related to the submission of information and
intelligence by prison staff?
•	 Is there a common national standard for recording information and intelligence?
•	 Are common formats and terminologies used?
•	 Is there a network of specialist prison staff deployed to gather and develop prison
information and intelligence? If so, how many? What are their job descriptions? How are
they managed?
•	 After an incident has taken place in prison, are staff formally debriefed in terms of what
lessons have been learned? Is this information forwarded as information or intelligence?
How and to whom?

Evaluation
Evaluation involves an assessment of the reliability of the source and the quality of
the information. All information should be examined to evaluate the reliability of the
source and the accuracy of the information. A specially trained member of prison
staff should evaluate the information as it is received. A process should be in place
to supervise and quality assure information after submission. Feedback to the member
of staff who gathered the information and to the evaluator is important if future
evaluations are to improve.

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Good practice has evolved whereby all information or intelligence submitted is evaluated on the basis of (a) the previous history of reliability of the source, and (b) to
what degree the source has direct knowledge of the information he or she is providing
(for instance, did the source acquire the information directly, or did he or she hear
it from someone else?).
There are different systems in use for the evaluation of information but, essentially,
the idea is the same: to provide an estimate of the reliability of the source and an
estimate of the accuracy of the actual information provided.
An internationally used formula, known as the Admiralty Code, is designed to give
an alphanumeric value to this assessment. The components of the code represent a
graded scale of measurement ranging between high probability to probable inaccuracy. Where an assessment is impossible to make in the circumstances, an additional
code is included. Each component must be considered carefully and independently
of each other.
ADMIRALTY CODE
A.	 Completely reliable

1.	 Report confirmed

B. 	Usually reliable

2.	 Probably true report

C. 	Fairly reliable

3.	 Possibly true report

D. 	Not usually reliable

4.	 Doubtful true report

E. 	Unreliable

5.	 Improbable report

F. 	 Reliability unknown

6.	 Truth cannot be judged

Source reliability—the examination of the characteristics of the source, to assess the level
of reliance that may be placed on information provided, considering issues such as:
••

Proximity—how close is the source to the subject of the information; i.e., is
the source in a position to know?

••

Sensory limitations—both human and mechanical observers have limitations
in hearing, seeing, detecting and classifying.

••

Fatigue—individuals respond differently when fatigued. It may result from
the intake of alcohol or drugs. The source may be tired, stressed or suffering
from physical or mental exhaustion.

••

Bias—an unbiased source of information is the exception rather than the rule.
Individuals, by their previous experience, attitudes, self-interest, desires and
capacities may form biased attitudes. Bias may be deliberate or unintentional.

••

Knowledge and experience—if the source has special knowledge or experience
relevant to the information in question, he or she is assumed to be more
reliable in that particular context.

••

Past performance—if the source has provided information in the past, how
accurate was it? If inaccurate or false, what were the circumstances?

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PRISON INTELLIGENCE: CYCLE, PROCESS AND COMPONENTS 65

Information accuracy—the first determination should identify whether the information
purports to be fact, opinion or rumour.
Information integrity—wherever possible, the content of information reports should
remain exactly as authors compiled them. From time to time, however, it may be
necessary to re-word parts of the text to remove ambiguities, unintended conclusions
or other information that could identify a confidential source or otherwise compromise an investigation.
Allied to this evaluation, there may be a further “handling” or “dissemination” code
added that limits the extent of permission for further distribution. This is intended
to protect the information or intelligence from any unauthorized disclosure.

Collation
Following evaluation, all records and logs received, either on paper or electronically,
should be collated, filed, cross referenced and ordered, ready for analysis. Collation
involves the organization of the data collected into a format from which it can be
retrieved and analyzed.
Collation requires examining information to quantify its contents and sorting similar
information into logical groups, thereby converting raw information into formats that
can be used by analysts and investigators. Regardless of any specific attribute of
activity under investigation, it will generally contain information relating to people,
places, objects and events.

Collation groupings
•	 People—both identifiable and not including their relationships to each other
•	 Places—identified locations within the prison, yards, accommodation, workshops, etc.
•	 Things—telephone numbers, drugs, knives, escape equipment, home-made weapons,
alcohol brewed in prison, etc.
•	 Events—which have occurred, are occurring or may occur that include identified dates
and those people implied through their relationship to other events. (e.g. after this and
before that)
•	 Activities—specific, alleged, inferred or types of activity

Analysis
Analysis involves the careful examination of information to discover its meaning and
essential features. The analysis stage of the intelligence process is a key one. Analysis
can be described as in-depth examination of the meaning and essential features of
available information. Analysis highlights information gaps, strengths, weaknesses and
suggests a way forward.

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There are two basic categories of analysis: strategic analysis, which takes a higher
“helicopter” and a longer term perspective; and tactical analysis, which focuses on
immediate, operational issues. Strategic information and intelligence considers trends
and emerging threats. Tactical information and intelligence looks at an existing situation
or current operation, often in real time.
Analysis considers information in context, draws conclusion as to what it means,
highlights gaps in existing knowledge, suggests what is likely to happen next and
makes recommendations as to possible future action. The work may be prompted
by anomalies, trends or connections noticed by the analyst during the course of
general research, but, more commonly, it will be initiated by senior managers asking
a question or providing specific terms of reference.
The results of the analysis may be presented in a number of different formats depending on the requirements of the person commissioning the work. These may range
from in-depth reports on complex strategic issues (such as drug trafficking) to a short
oral briefing about a particular issue (escape attempt, prisoner using a mobile phone).
Good prison intelligence products are cogent, concise and accessible with clear and unequivocal
recommendations justified by strong evidence. Where information flows and sources are weak,
the analytical product will also be weak.

Information can be likened to a jigsaw puzzle with all the pieces being bits of information. When joined together in the right way, a picture emerges but for the picture
to be complete, all the pieces have to be in place. No matter how insignificant one
piece may appear, without it there can be no picture. So it is with information: every
scrap pieced together forms the process by which intelligence is gathered.
If the intelligence is highly rated, then the action that flows from intelligence could
be a change in procedure, physical changes to an area, extra staff being allocated,
or staff being asked to watch out for something specific.
An important aspect of analysis is hypothesis development. The term hypothesis
development simply refers to the development of alternative theories as to what a
collection of information may mean. Generally, more than one hypothesis can be
developed from the same set of data. The elements of a hypothesis are:
Elements of hypothesis
•	 Who—key individuals or individual
•	 What—criminal activities
•	 How—method of operation
•	 Where—geographic location
•	 Why—motive
•	 When—past, present or future

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PRISON INTELLIGENCE: CYCLE, PROCESS AND COMPONENTS 67

Dissemination
The dissemination stage involves the release of the results of analysis to the client,
i.e. prison management. The dissemination process can take various forms, such as:
••

Structured formalized reports

••

Structured and formal oral presentations with supporting documentation

••

Weekly overviews in the form of bulletins

••

Ad-hoc briefing to intelligence and investigative teams

The dissemination phase completes the initial cycle of the intelligence process.

Intelligence briefs
Intelligence briefs present the findings of an analysis. The product should be succinct
and present only those findings that are relevant to the specific issue or trend. Intelligence practitioners must critically evaluate their own analysis to ensure that the
final product clearly articulates the intelligence that is critical for managers to make
informed decisions.

Intelligence briefs
The purpose of the intelligence brief is to provide a summary of an issue to enable timely tasking.
It can also be used to report updates on existing products. The intelligence brief facilitates more
efficient and timely reporting of emerging issues, due to the reduced workload in providing a
summary of the issue rather than a comprehensive assessment.

The intelligence brief should be based on any initial requirements set out by prison
management. For example, if the prison director wants a report on the level of drug
abuse in the prison, then the intelligence brief should focus on that subject. The
author should have a clear understanding about what prison management wants to
know and some understanding of what they intend to do with the product. In
self-generated products (where there has been no initial client commission), consideration must be given to the likely use of the product. The intelligence practitioner
should anticipate, through knowledge of their client, what aspects of a particular
situation would be of interest or benefit.
One of the things to be aware of is that the actual brief will not necessarily represent
the time and effort that has gone into producing it. It is difficult to convince a client
that the two or three pages of intelligence contained in the document can be the
result of days, weeks or months (in some cases) of work. The analyst must avoid the
pitfall of trying to equate the amount of effort with the length of the document.
The key point for writing any intelligence product is to answer issues of concern to
prison management. Ideally, these issues of concern are set during the “task definition” phase of the intelligence cycle. Even if they are not set during that phase, the
intelligence practitioner should have some form of understanding of the client’s interest. Everything in an intelligence brief should focus on answering the “so what?”
questions on behalf of the prison administration.

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HANDBOOK ON DYNAMIC SECURITY AND PRISON INTELLIGENCE

A template for an intelligence brief and guidance for completion is at annex 2.

Sharing intelligence
A decision will have to be made as to how far intelligence should be shared. In some
cases, it will be kept within the security department; in others, referred to the prison
director or to the prison administration headquarters. On occasion, the intelligence
will be relevant and useful to other law enforcement agencies. The intelligence product should be clearly marked with an appropriate handling code. Prison intelligence
is never shared with prisoners.
In most cases, the intelligence report will go to the security manager or prison director for a decision on whether to take any action and if so, what action. They will
also decide who “needs to know” about the intelligence.
Example of intelligence handing codes
•	 Dissemination permitted within law enforcement agencies in the country of origin
•	 Dissemination permitted to other national agencies
•	 Dissemination permitted to international law enforcement agencies
•	 Dissemination within originating agency only
•	 Permits dissemination, but receiving agency to observe the conditions specified

Acting on intelligence
Possible actions could include:
••

Doing nothing

••

Doing nothing but briefing staff to continue to gather information on the
issue (as part of strategic or operational objectives)

••

Moving a prisoner or prisoners

••

Searching a prisoner or building

••

Searching a visitor or member of staff

••

Informing regional or national administration if a strategic issue

•	

Informing local law enforcement agencies (according to laid down protocols)

Re-evaluation
Re-evaluation involves a continual review of the whole intelligence cycle to identify
ways in which any stage of the cycle can be improved. To be of most value,
re-evaluation should occur throughout the process, not merely be left to the last
stage of the cycle. Often, re-evaluation may involve re-running the entire cycle.

Annex 1
Security information report (SIR):
template and guidance
for completion
Details of the purpose and function of SIRs can be found in chapter 4, pages 66-67.

General points
••

All unusual, out of character or suspicious activity or situations may be of
potential investigative or intelligence value to either the prison administration
or other law enforcement agencies and should therefore be collected

••

Information received from any source in hard copy format is to be transcribed
onto a SIR

•	

Any information relevant to other law enforcement agencies should be forwarded to the appropriate agency as soon as possible in accordance with
handling codes

Actions by member of prison staff completing the form
••

Name of the prison

••

Name and number of the prisoner(s) or person(s) about whom the report is
being made

••

Location of the incident(s)

•	

Subject(s) covered in the SIR—for example, drugs, alcohol, phone, gang

Actions by the security/intelligence department on receipt
••

Give the SIR a unique reference number

••

Enter that number on the form and SIR log book

•	

Assign a security classificationa

a
The security classification enables those using the document to understand the degree of sensitivity and apply
appropriate consistent security controls to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the document.
Although submitting members must assign a security classification to each information report, it is essential that
intelligence practitioners reassess the sensitivity of the information independently. The appropriate security classification level must been assigned to identify the risk, nature and severity of the adverse consequences that would
result from unauthorised access and/or disclosure of the information. The nature of security classification will depend
on national regulations.

69

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HANDBOOK ON DYNAMIC SECURITY AND PRISON INTELLIGENCE

Section 1
To be completed by the member of staff making the report and setting out:
••

Date and time information was received

••

Source of the information (prisoner, other staff, covert source)

••

Details of what was observed (seen) or is of concern

••

Details of what was heard

•	

Details of what was discovered

The reader must clearly know that the information originates from either the author
of the document, another person or another source. Another source could be an
agency, organization or government department. For a variety of reasons, they may
or may not wish to disclose the detail of the source.
The person completing the report should also indicate their view on the reliability
of the sourceb and the accuracy of the informationc based on their personal knowledge
and any enquiries made. A SIR gives the author the opportunity to express an opinion (or suspicion) regarding the accuracy of the information, the motivation of the
source, or anything else which may have a bearing on the usefulness of the information. The author must avoid misleading conclusions and ensure that all conclusions
drawn are supported.
This section should deal only with relevant information and be kept concise and to
the point. If necessary, additional sheets can be used (see below).
The member of staff submitting the SIR should enter the following at the bottom
of the first page:
••

Name (printed)

••

Date and time of submission

•	

Signature

If there is a significant delay between the receipt of the information by its author
and the creation of the report, this difference should be highlighted and an explanation for the delay included at the top in the information section of the report. The
purpose of this is to ensure the reader does not assume the date of the report is the
day the information was received.

b
Source reliability—this is an examination of the characteristics of a source, to assess what reliance may be
placed on the information provided.
c
Information accuracy—the first determination is to identify whether the information purports to be fact,
opinion, hearsay or rumour, before undertaking inquiries to establish its accuracy. Wherever possible, the assertions
made should have inquiries made to determine their truth or otherwise.

ANNEX 1

SECURITY INFORMATION REPORT (SIR): TEMPLATE AND GUIDANCE FOR COMPLETION 71

Section 2
The security/intelligence officer receiving the SIR should enter:
••

Name (printed)

••

Date and time SIR was received

•	

Signature

All information must be evaluated by separately, examining the reliability of the source
and the accuracy of the information. Reliability of the source and information should
be examined and evaluated independently to ensure that each is accurately addressed.
A member of the security/intelligence office should:
••

Evaluate the reliability of the source

••

Assess the accuracy of the information

••

Confirm how the information contained in the SIR should be handled

••

Make an assessment of any related and supporting intelligence

••

Make recommendations based on the content of the SIR

••

Identify any linked SIRs

•	

Enter their name, date and time of assessment and sign the SIR

Section 3
The security/intelligence senior officer should review the SIR, evaluation and recommendation(s) and:
••

Decide what actions are required

••

Identify when those actions should take place (immediate, 24 or 72 hours)

•	

Enter their name, date and time of assessment and sign the SIR

Section 4
The head of the security/intelligence office (if available, otherwise the most senior
officer of intelligence office who is on duty) should review the SIR, evaluation and
recommended actions and:
••

Approve the actions that should take place

••

Reject the proposed actions and set out why

••

Identify other necessary actions

•	

Enter their name, date and time of assessment and sign the SIR

Section 5
The prison director (officer in charge), or their deputy, should:
••

Review the SIR and make any comments they wish

•	

Decide if headquarters should be informed and about what

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HANDBOOK ON DYNAMIC SECURITY AND PRISON INTELLIGENCE

TEMPLATE EXAMPLE
[XXXX] Prison Service
SECURITY INFORMATION REPORT
Prison:

SIR number/year

Security Classification

Action immediately (Tick) 
 Inform Headquarters sign additional

­information and write what was reported (Tick)

Prisoner(s) name(s):
Prisoner(s) number(s):
Incident location:
Subject heading:

SECTION 1.  Content of report

(Continue on a separate piece of paper if required)

ANNEX 1

SECURITY INFORMATION REPORT (SIR): TEMPLATE AND GUIDANCE FOR COMPLETION 73

Information submitted by (print name):
Date submitted:				

Time submitted:

Signature:

SECTION 2.  SIR received in Intelligence Office by:
Name (print):
Date:				Time:

Signature:

Evaluation (completed by Intelligence Office)
Source
A. C
 ompletely
reliable
B. Usually reliable
C. Fairly reliable
D. Not usually
reliable

Information
1. Report confirmed
A
B
C
D

E. Unreliable

2. Probably true report
3. Possibly true report
4. Doubtful true report

1

1. Dissemination permitted within law
enforcement agencies in the country
of origin.

1

2

2. Dissemination permitted to other
national agencies.

2

3

3. Dissemination permitted to international
law enforcement agencies.

3

4

4. Dissemination within originating agency
only.

4

5

5. Permits dissemination, but receiving
agency to observe the conditions
­specified.

5

5. Improbable report
E

F. Reliability
­unknown

Handling

F

6. Truth cannot be judged

6

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HANDBOOK ON DYNAMIC SECURITY AND PRISON INTELLIGENCE

Summary of supporting intelligence and recommendations (completed by Intelligence Office)

Name (Print):						Signature:
Date:
Time:

Previously linked SIRs
1) …………
2) …………
3) …………
4) …………

SECTION 3.  Actions set by security/intelligence manager
(Tick)

 Immediate		

 24 hours		

Name (Print):					Signature:
Date:
Time:

 72 hours

ANNEX 1

SECURITY INFORMATION REPORT (SIR): TEMPLATE AND GUIDANCE FOR COMPLETION 75

SECTION 4.  Head of Intelligence/Security
(to agree or set alternative/additional action)

Action (s) approved (Tick if approved) 
If not approved then write alternative or additional action to be taken.

Name (Print): 					Signature:
Date:
Time:

SECTION 5.  Prison Director (Officer-in-Charge)
(Final decision or comments)
(Specify if Headquarters was informed and what information was reported.)

Name (Print):					 Signature:
Date:
Time:

Annex 2
Intelligence brief: template and
guidance for completion
Details of the purpose and function of intelligence briefs can be found in chapter 4,
page 67.

Purpose of the intelligence brief
The purpose of the intelligence brief is to provide a brief summary of an issue to
enable timely tasking. It can also be used to report updates for existing products.
The intelligence brief facilitates more efficient and timely reporting of emerging issues
due to the reduced workload in providing a snapshot of the issue rather than a
comprehensive assessment. Intelligence briefs present the findings of analysis requiring an operational response. The product should be succinct and present only those
findings that are relevant to the specific issue or trend. Intelligence practitioners must
critically evaluate their own analysis to ensure that the final product clearly articulates
the intelligence that is critical for managers to make informed decisions. Other document formats, such as briefing notes or issues papers, have their uses where
appropriate.
The actual brief will not necessarily represent the time and effort that has gone into
producing it. Two or three pages of intelligence contained in the brief can be the
result of days, weeks or months of work. The analyst must avoid the pitfall of trying
to equate the amount of effort with the length of the document.
The key point for writing any intelligence product is to answer issues of concern to
prison management (reader). Ideally, these issues of concern are set during the “task
definition” phase of the intelligence cycle. Even if they are not set at that stage, the
intelligence practitioner should have some form of understanding of the prison
administration’s interest. Everything in an intelligence brief should focus on answering
the “so what?” questions on behalf of the client.

Structure of the intelligence brief
The exact document structure will depend on the nature of the analysis and the
points that the author wishes the reader to focus on. Most intelligence briefs have
a number of distinct sections; it is important to consider all parts together and not
individually.
77

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HANDBOOK ON DYNAMIC SECURITY AND PRISON INTELLIGENCE

Subject—the subject line must reflect the content of the document and the initial
scope that was determined during the task definition phase.
Introduction—the beginning of the intelligence brief introduces the product to the
reader. It should clearly indicate the purpose of the document and any other background issues leading to the need for the product. This part of the document should
be short (probably a paragraph or two should suffice in an intelligence brief of two
or three pages in length).
Key findings—should set out the outcome of the analysis and should be written after
the analysis has taken place. It should not inadvertently include any unsupported
key findings not explained in the analysis.
Analysis—forms the main body of the brief and contains the analysis and other
material from which the conclusion is reached. It is the longest part of the document—it would be common for 75 per cent of any intelligence product to be devoted
to the analysis section of the document and it takes the most time to complete.
Conclusion and recommendations—set out conclusions and recommendations based on
the key findings.

Writing the intelligence brief
The lead sentence of the introduction should set out the focus or major core assertion.
It is the highest level of generality in the document and serves as a general guide to
what is contained in the brief. The synthesis and title should form an exact fit.
Each paragraph of the analysis should begin with a core assertion—the most important point that is being made in the paragraph. The core assertion should go beyond
the data in the rest of the paragraph to make a judgement about the future or provide
an analytic insight drawn from or supported by the data. The rest of the information
in the paragraph should prove, support or explain the point made in the core
assertion.
The reader should be able to extract the core assertions from the briefs and understand the meaning, flow and logic of what is being said.
Many intelligence briefs are too long. In general, this tends to occur when the intelligence practitioner includes too much unnecessary background information. The
intelligence brief should provide succinct answers to the “so what?” questions about
a particular issue.
Just because a graph or summary table has been produced during the course of the
analysis does not mean that it should be included in the finished intelligence product.
The charts, graphs, maps and so forth inform the author’s (the analyst’s) knowledge
of the issues and provide the basis for informed analysis. They should not automatically be included in the brief.

ANNEX 2

INTELLIGENCE BRIEF: TEMPLATE AND GUIDANCE FOR COMPLETION 79

TEMPLATE EXAMPLE
[XXXX] Prison Service
INTELLIGENCE BRIEF

The interpretations and conclusions in this report are made on the balance of probabilities, on
information at the time of preparation. The information contained herein is NOT EVIDENCE and is
intended to provide a basis for further consideration.

SUBJECT:
INTRODUCTION

KEY FINDINGS

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HANDBOOK ON DYNAMIC SECURITY AND PRISON INTELLIGENCE

ANALYSIS

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

DOCUMENT DETAILS
Author name(s):
Unit:
Phone:
Dissemination authorized by:
Date:
Reference:
Security classification:

*1508103*

V.15-08103

Vienna International Centre, P.O. Box 500, 1400 Vienna, Austria
Tel: (+43-1) 26060-0, Fax: (+43-1) 26060-5866, www.unodc.org

 

 

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