shakedown | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction

A shakedown is a thorough search of a prisoner’s person or cell.

A shakedown is a common practice in correctional facilities, in which prison officials conduct a thorough search of a prisoner’s person or cell. Shakedowns are typically conducted for security reasons, to prevent the introduction of contraband, or to uncover potential security threats.

During a shakedown, prison officials may search a prisoner’s personal belongings, including clothing, bedding, and hygiene items. They may also search the prisoner’s cell or living area, looking for any hidden contraband such as weapons, drugs, or other prohibited items.

They can be conducted in a variety of ways, depending on the policies and procedures of the specific correctional facility. Some may be conducted randomly, while others may be conducted in response to a specific security concern or incident.

While they are an important tool for maintaining the safety and security of correctional facilities, they can also be intrusive and disruptive to prisoners’ lives. In some cases, they may be used as a form of harassment or intimidation by prison officials.

To ensure that shakedowns are conducted in a fair and consistent manner, many correctional facilities have established policies and procedures governing the conduct of shakedowns. These policies may include guidelines for conducting them, procedures for documenting the results, and procedures for addressing any complaints or concerns raised by prisoners or their families.

Despite the importance of shakedowns for maintaining the safety and security of correctional facilities, there are also concerns about the potential for abuse or misconduct. To address these concerns, many states have established oversight bodies or independent monitoring organizations to investigate allegations of abuse or misconduct by correctional staff.

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Last Modified: 04/23/2023

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