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Countering the Emerging Drone Threat to Correctional Security

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2024
32 pages

This report provides information regarding the methodology of a workshop to explore the challenges and opportunities associated with preventing, detecting, and responding to the threats posed by drones to correctional security; it also provides key findings and recommendations that emerged from the workshop, it also features relevant comments from workshop participants.


This publication presents findings and recommendations from a workshop aimed at exploring key needs to address threat from drones to correctional facility security. The findings hold implications for justice-system stakeholders, correctional practitioners, technology developers, and researchers. The report addresses two overarching research questions: to determine the key challenges associated with preventing, detecting, and responding to drone incidents; and what the highest priority needs are that, if addressed, would have the greatest impact on countering the threat posed by drones. Key findings suggest that there is no standard definition of what constitutes a “drone incident,” making it challenging to quantify the scope of the problem; drones represent a relatively new challenge for the corrections sector, and guidance is needed to address the challenge; drone technologies are rapidly changing; drone detection solutions may be rendered less effective as drone technologies evolve; existing drone technologies have gaps and are not 100 percent effective; drone incidents are often highly coordinated by criminal organizations; and basic correctional strategies and practices can be a critical part of a multi-layered approach to drone incidents. The report also provides a number of recommendations based on workshop findings, including, among others: to develop standard technology and best practices for drone incident reports; to develop drone vulnerability assessment tools; to develop guidebooks and other resources to help agencies identify their needs and objectives; and to develop a national data-sharing system to report and track drone incidents.

Date Published: March 1, 2024