By AeroDefense on June 14, 2019

5 Reasons Your Correctional Facility Needs a Drone Detection System

Sometimes wrapped together with duct tape, cell phones are a common item delivered by drone.

Concerned about drones? While contraband delivery is the most common reason facilities are worried about drones, there are other risks too. Many of which can impact staff or inmate safety. Here are are five drone threats to consider at your correctional facility.


Contraband wire cutters

Recovered contraband has included tools like wire cutters that can be used for escape.

Many facilities are battling an influx of contraband thanks to drones. Often a coordinated team effort involving multiple flights, drones have been used to deliver:

      • Drugs – which can cause riots and present a safety risk.
      • Phones – that allow inmates to coordinate activities with each other and with the outside world.
      • Tools – like the wire cutters used to escape a South Carolina prison in 2017.
      • Weapons – that pose an immediate threat to both prison staff and inmate safety.


Using a drone, bad actors can observe if, and how quickly, you can respond to an incident.

The latest high resolution cameras have a 30x zoom lens that can read the serial number off a wind turbine blade. So watching the movement of your security staff will seem easy in comparison. Drones can be used to see your security routes and response times so bad actors have all the information they need to plan future activities.

In addition, nefarious actors could view:

      • The location and direction of security cameras
      • Identifying marks, brands or serials on your physical security equipment, which may include gates, locks, and access control systems
      • Staff entering a code or PIN number into a access control panel

All of which could be used to gain unauthorized access.

Further, they could also record activity within your facility, that could be sent to the media, or posted on social media, and result in a negative public response.


Correctional facility gates

A drone flown over electronic physical security measure, such as a gate, could carry an electronic device designed to open the gate.

Not only can a drone gather all the data about your physical security needed to plan for unauthorized access. It can also be used to gain access. This could be from the outside, by using a drone to open electronically controlled security barriers, like gates. Or, it could be from the inside. A drone can deliver the right tools to inmates so they can access areas of your facility. For example, a rope ladder (true story) that can be used to access roof deliveries.


Drones can sniff your network

Drones can be used to look for weak points in your network.

A drone could be used to sniff your network and look for security vulnerabilities to exploit. Worst still, you may not know it's happened. So even if a drone doesn't look like it's actively threatening your facility, it's important to respond. Why? Because proactive response to drones in your airspace is a natural deterrent to future bad actors.


Drone IED

Many octocopter drones can easily carry a payload of 40 pounds or more.

An explosive device, carried via drone, would bypass your ground-based security. And it could either be dropped (for immediate use or triggering later), or the drone simply crashed into your facility. The result, could be escape, injury, or worse, loss of life.


The AirWarden™ drone detection system detects drones as they enter your airspace and locates both the drone and the pilot/controller. Once detected, alerts are sent to security personnel via command console, text or email. They can also be sent to local law enforcement, for a coordinated response.

In addition, replays of a detection event can show you the best places to look for evidence to help build your case. And experience has shown that installation of a drone detection system can actually reduce contraband delivery attempts.


Published by AeroDefense June 14, 2019