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Road Trip

Road Trip

Prisoners love to go on the road. It’s a terrific opportunity for them to break out of the tedium of the facility environment, to meet new and exciting people — and it gives them an excellent chance to escape. Sometimes these escapes involve violence, hostages and death of transporting officers or innocent bystanders. An escape can be individual effort and sometimes there’s help from others.

There are many reasons prison inmates are transported and several ways they can be transported. There’s no perfect method for safely transporting prisoners, and protocols must always be evaluated and adjusted.

Ain’t No Party Bus

In some states prisoners may start their sentences at a centralized intake facility then transfer to other facilities. Some are incarcerated far from their homes and families, and must earn their way closer to home. Others may start close to home but get transferred further away when they misbehave. Entry into the prison system and transfers to different facilities are typically conducted on prisoner transport buses equipped to provide maximum security.

Transport buses are usually Class A and C motor coaches retrofitted with security doors and walls, molded seats, isolation cells, floor drains and cameras. The bus is only one factor in the rodeo it is to move many inmates at one time. It can be a bit of a logistical nightmare what with the number of inmates to be moved, segregation of high-risk inmates and staffing issues that must be planned. Security protocols must be adhered to because many things can happen to jeopardize security on the bus.

For instance if a bus is involved in a collision (whether staged or not), the first response is to contact local law enforcement for support. Simultaneously, the bus staff must quickly assess damage to determine if the prisoners need to be evacuated or if they can defend in place while waiting for assistance. Treatment of injured inmates must quickly follow the security protocols; bearing in mind the ensuing confusion is the chance some prisoners use to escape.


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  1. I’m a C/O for CDCR and this article was pitch on, the point made what is done in the movies vs. reality is no joke. I will say this though, I have seen sheriff’s deputies practice trasportation of inmates with both officers armed vs. one armed and the other (contact officer) not. Thanks for the great article keep it up!

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