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RAND Corporation Project Memorandum Series

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Technical Report

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Radio frequency identification systems -- Design and construction, Correctional institutions -- United States -- Case studies, Administration of criminal justice -- Technological innovations -- Evaluation, Security systems, Jails -- United States -- Management


In consultation with the District of Columbia Department of Corrections (DC DOC), researchers developed an evaluation design oriented around five objectives. One objective is to provide timely feedback to the U.S. Justice Department’s National Institute of Justice (the funder of the evaluation), DC DOC, and other interested jurisdictions on RFID’s implementation. A second objective is to provide feedback on the process of implementing RFID. A third objective is to assess the impact of RFID’s implementation on identified outcome measures. A fourth objective is to compare costs to the facilities against the cost of implementing RFID technology, including direct and indirect costs and benefits associated with RFID. The fifth objective is to draw lessons for improving overall RFID implementation, design, and operations. The major components of the research design are a process evaluation, an outcomes trend analysis, and analyses of categories of costs and benefits. The process evaluation would focus on understanding how RFID may impact and change jail population management. It would focus on capturing information about initial installation and pilot testing, full deployment, and post-installation. The outcome trends analysis would consist of a pre-design and post-design that would assess change in relation to a series of variables already tracked by DC DOC (e.g., inmate-on-inmate violence). Because a formal cost-benefit analysis is not likely to be feasible, researchers recommend a study that captures areas of expected and unexpected benefits that would contribute to a framework for considering costs and benefits.


This document is a research report submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice. This report has not been published by the Department. Opinions or points of view expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

This publication is part of the RAND Corporation project memorandum series. This project was supported by Award No. 2005-IJ-CX-K062 awarded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice. NIJ defines publications as any planned, written, visual or sound material substantively based on the project, formally prepared by the grant recipient for dissemination to the public. is a registered trademark.

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