Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Joseph Pascarella


AbstractAlthough contraband trafficking has been a focus of scholars since 2013, researchers have yet been able to establish a more reliable contraband control strategy. The present study was based on the perceptions of correctional practitioners of Maryland State Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS). These perceptions were necessary in devising a strategy to prevent the flow of contraband items into Maryland’s adult state prisons. The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of 10 correctional practitioners from Maryland correctional facilities, with the goal of providing insight into which efforts are most effective in preventing contraband from state prisons. The theoretical framework for this study was based on Beccaria and Bentham’s theory of deterrence, which is the process of transmitting information to discourage violation of the law. Using the case study method, data from participants were collected virtually via telephone, Zoom, LinkedIn Facebook and WhatsApp, and the interviews lasted between 30 to 60 minutes. Data were analyzed through hand coding, with the help on NVivo software. The following themes resulted from data analysis: (a) security loopholes within the facilities that facilitate contraband trafficking, (b) correctional practitioners’ risk-taking tendencies, and (c) the search for an ideal contraband intervention model. By promoting the goal of protecting the public, the correctional employees, and the inmates, the perceptions expressed by the participants have the potential of creating positive social changes within the individuals themselves, the DPSCS, and society. The results may be used as the basis for future pilots to evaluate other prisons throughout the United States.