Controlling Contraband

Controlling Contraband 

Contraband is any item or article that detainees/inmates are prohibited from possessing. Contraband threatens the security of the institution and endangers the lives of staff, detainees/inmates, and the public. It can disrupt institutional operations and lead to serious injuries or even fatalities. The control of contraband is a persistent problem in correctional facilities. It is the responsibility of all staff to control contraband being brought into or manufactured within the walls of the facility.This course will provide officers working in adult correctional facilities with information on the common types of contraband found and the role they play in controlling contraband. Additionally, information on conducting searches of persons (detainees/inmates, staff, contractors, vendors, and visitors), living units/cells, common areas, perimeters, and vehicles will be provided. Information presented in this course is based on best practices and for informational purposes only. You should always refer to and follow your agency’s policies and procedures related to searching for and responding to contraband.


Hours: 2.25


Certificates provided by accrediting body (2 Match)

American Jail Association Certification

2.25 HOURS

This activity is approved for 2.25 contact hours.

California Board of State and Community Corrections

2.25 HOURS

This activity is approved for 2.25 STC credit hours.

Course Details

Course Code: REL-PS-0-CCSO-V2
Hours: 2.25
Type: Online Course
Content Expiration Date: 5/31/2024
Learning Objectives:
Identify 5 types of contraband and how contraband enters facilities.
Describe the key role that correctional officers play in controlling contraband.
Explain the 4 types of personal searches and how to conduct them.
Discuss 5 strategies for conducting thorough searches of living units/cells.
Explain common ways to conduct thorough searches of common areas, the perimeter, and vehicles for contraband.


Section 1: Introduction

A. About This Course

B. Learning Objectives

Section 2: Contraband and the Correctional Officer Role

A. Defining Contraband

B. Types of Contraband

C. How Contraband Enters Facilities

D. Correctional Officer Role in Controlling Contraband

E. Review

F. Summary

Section 3: Searching Detainees/Inmates, Visitors, and Staff

A. Types of Personal Searches

B. Conducting Searches Using Technology

C. Conducting Pat-Down Searches

D. Conducting Strip Searches

E. Conducting Manual/Digital Body Cavity Searches

F. Documenting a Search

G. Review

H. Summary

Section 4: Searching Living Units, Common Areas, and Vehicles

A. Other Types of Searches

B. Facility-Based Searches

C. Strategies for Conducting Searches of Living Units/Cells

D. Avoiding Confrontation with Detainees/Inmates

E. Strategies for Searching Common Areas

F. Strategies for Searching the Perimeter

G. Strategies for Searching Vehicles

H. Review

I. Summary

Section 5: Conclusion

A. Summary

B. Course Contributors

C. Resources

D. References

E. Congratulations!

F. Exam

E. Brain Sparks

Expert Reviewer: Joe Martin
Joe Martin is a career employee for the Kentucky Department of Corrections. Joe started his career as an officer in 1998. Joe was promoted to Sergeant in 2002 and to Lieutenant in 2005. Joe worked and supervised most security positions within a male and female facility while in security that include: Internal Affairs supervisor, Special Management Unit Supervisor, Shift Supervisor, Visitation Supervisor, Adjustment Committee, and Grievance Chairman. In 2012 Joe was again promoted to the Accreditation Manager. In 2013 Joe was promoted to Central Office and started in the PREA Executive department. In 2014 Joe gained his DOJ PREA auditor certification where he served as chair for many PREA Audits in Missouri and Kansas while the KY DOC was part of a consortium with several other states. During his career, he has also served as the Hostage Negotiation Team Leader and active member of the team. Joe’s accomplishments include Commissioner’s and Achievement awards for the department. Disclosure: Joe Martin has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Staff Writer: Kimberly Cobb, MS
Mrs. Cobb is a Lead SME Writer/Trainer at Relias. Her primary writing responsibilities are in the Health and Human Services vertical, in the content areas of public safety and behavioral health. Mrs. Cobb is also the onboarding trainer for new Relias staff joining the Content Department. Mrs. Cobb has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Correctional and Juvenile Justice Studies and a Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. She has over 24 years of experience working in criminal and juvenile justice. Her work includes direct service, research, and training and technical assistance. She was the statewide evaluator for the Commonwealth of Kentucky for adult, juvenile, and family drug courts; a Research Associate for the American Probation & Parole Association providing training and technical assistance to Native American Nations/Alaska Native Villages on systemic criminal and juvenile justice initiatives; and a Research Administrator for the University of Kentucky. Disclosure: Kimberly Cobb, MS has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Target Audience:
The target audience for this course is: Correctional Officers; in the following settings: Adult Corrections.
Relias will be transparent in disclosing if any commercial support, sponsorship or co-providership is present prior to the learner completing the course.
Course Delivery Method and Format
Asynchronous/Online Distance Learning; please see certificate details for specifics on delivery format.
Relias has a grievance policy in place to facilitate reports of dissatisfaction. Relias will make every effort to resolve each grievance in a mutually satisfactory manner. In order to report a complaint or grievance please contact Relias.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Support by completing the web form ( or by using the chat functionality.
All courses offered by Relias, LLC are developed from a foundation of diversity, inclusiveness, and a multicultural perspective. Knowledge, values and awareness related to cultural competency are infused throughout the course content.
Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, service mark, manufacturer or otherwise does not constitute or imply any endorsement, recommendation, or favoring of, or affiliation with, Relias, LLC.
All characteristics and organizations referenced in the following training are fictional. Any resemblance to any actual organizations or persons living or dead, is purely coincidental.
To earn continuing education credit for this course you must achieve a passing score of 80% on the post-test and complete the course evaluation.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Customer Support here.