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Kevlar Correctional Stab-Resistant Armor

NCJ Number
Corrections Technology & Management Volume: 6 Issue: 4 Dated: July/August 2002 Pages: 33-35
Bruce Cameron
Date Published
July 2002
3 pages
This article reviews the history of the development of stab-resistant armor for correctional officers and describes plans for future armor.
Ballistic vests (those designed to stop the penetration of bullets) are not effective against pointed weapons such as ice picks, handmade shanks, shivs, and blades. These are the weapons commonly found in correctional facilities. A number of factors have recently combined to help protect correctional officers against stab threats. One is the development of stab-resistant soft body armor that uses DuPont Kevlar Correctional technology. The other is the release of the National Institute of Justice Stab Standard 0115.00 and the inclusion of these kinds of vests in the Bureau of Justice Assistance Bulletproof Vest Partnership. DuPont introduced its Kevlar Correctional technology in 1995. Since then, the technology has been used in two different kinds of body armor. One type is stand-alone, spike resistant armor intended primarily for corrections officers; this armor offers little ballistic protection. The other use of Kevlar Correctional technology is in vests that offer both ballistic and spike protection. These multiple threat vests are intended for officers involved in book-in, prisoner transport, and perimeter security. Spike-resistant vests absorb and dissipate the energy of the thrust, as the tensile strength of the fiber prevents the stabbing instrument from breaking the fiber or from pushing the fibers apart in the weave. DuPont warns, however, that stiletto-like, needle-like, or very sharp instruments may still penetrate all-fabric armor. DuPont's long-term plan is a wide-scope, multiple threat vest that protects against bullets, blades, spikes, fragments, needles, and thermal threats. For the time being, its goal is to improve wear rates and the survivability of corrections officers.