Prisoner transport

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This article is about the means and methods used to transport prisoners. For the punishment known as "transportation", see Penal transportation.
United States Marshals securing an immigration and customs prisoner transport.

Prisoner transport is the transportation of prisoners by law enforcement agencies and their agents or officers.

Handcuffs are often the minimum restraint. The additional precaution of leg irons may also be taken, particularly if the prisoner will be walking outside of a secure area. Specially designed prisoner transport vehicles are used to fulfill security requirements.

In order to extradite a suspected or convicted criminal from one jurisdiction to another, a rendition aircraft may be used, although the high cost involved means that it is normally used only to transport the most dangerous of prisoners; more commonly, a person being extradited would simply be put onto a commercial airliner, albeit escorted by law enforcement officers.


Prisoner transport is risky due to the fact the dangerous inmates are being temporarily brought into the public along with the civilian population. Many inmates see this time as an opportunity to escape. Some inmates prepare for escape during transport by bringing along tiny objects (e.g. paper clips that can be used to pick the locks of their handcuffs prior to escape from the vehicles.

Law enforcement agencies, aware of this, often take extra security measures on inmates being transported, especially those who are more prone to escape or violence. This includes additional forms of restraint on the bodies, more secure vehicles, and escorts from additional law enforcement agents. Many transports are started at night to minimize the chance of harm to civilians.

See also[edit]

The Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office Prisoner Transport bus. This bus, carrying up to thirty prisoners, makes five trips a week from the county jail to other prisons.