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The Benefits and Challenges of an Updated Prison Surveillance System

Modern prison

Prison surveillance systems are not an option—they’re a necessity. However, prisons, like all other businesses, have a strict budget to work with, and unfortunately even necessities are skimped on every once in a while. Security should not be one of those necessities.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2,220,300 adults were incarcerated in US federal and state prisons and county jails in 2013. In October 2017, there were 14,105 individuals locked up throughout the state of Connecticut alone. In order to ensure that these mass amounts of dangerous individuals stay firmly incarcerated, prison systems need guards, cells and, of course, video surveillance.

Video surveillance is not just necessary to keep prisoners in; rather, it also serves to keep guards and prison personnel safe while they do their job. If something does happen to a prison worker, it is important that the system be able to identify the perpetrator and pinpoint how, exactly, they were able to act up. Suveillance footage is key in this regard, as it can provide the evidence necessary to document incidents and stop misconduct from happening in the future.

If you manage a prison in Connecticut, you need to take the necessary measures to ensure that your employees and even other prisoners are safe and secure. If you don’t have a CCTV system in place, or if your system is old and outdated, there are a few reasons you should consider upgrading.

Benefits of an Upgraded IP Camera System in Your Enfield Prison

Video camera surveillance has always been an integral part of prison security measures, but as technology advances, many prisons aren’t keeping up. Below are just a few reasons that you should update your facility’s camera system:

Better Monitor Inmate Activity

Inmates are notorious for breaking the rules (after all, that is how they landed in your facility in the first place), and being behind bars does not hinder most prisoners’ desire to create mischief. From selling contraband items to giving each other tattoos, to inciting gang violence to trading weapons, there are a number of illegal activities that prisoners partake in. An updated security system that offers clearer footage and more coverage can better help you keep tabs on your inmates while your guards focus on more important matters, such as keeping the peace.

Irrefutable Evidence

IF an inmate or inmates are accused of misconduct, video footage can help you prove it. Without evidence, it can be difficult, and at times impossible, to determine the cause of mischief, as many prisoners are more willing to stay quiet than to be labeled as a “rat.” When incidents do occur at your facility, you can eliminate an extensive investigation and interrogation of inmates and simply review your footage.

Increase Visual Coverage

Facilities that use just guards to keep an eye on inmates are at a severe disadvantage, as there is only so much that the human eye can see. Once a guard’s back is turned, inmates are essentially free to do whatever they please. Facilities with outdated systems don’t have it nearly as bad, but they don’t have it great either. Most prison facilities are extensive, with numerous cells, corridors, offices and common areas. Outdate systems may have a difficult time monitoring all areas, while an updated CCTV system can provide continuous coverage of an entire facility.

Prevent Smuggling in of Contraband

Unfortunately, inmates aren’t the only people you have to be wary of. Visitors are the biggest source of contraband, and they bring in everything from drugs to weapons to their inmate-loved ones. Cameras placed in all the right locations can deter visitors from smuggling in illegal goods, while footage can be used to identify violators and ensure that they are adequately reprimanded by the state.

Reduce the Frequency of Assaults

In prison, fights are inevitable. However, with strategically placed cameras, you can drastically reduce the number of incidences, as no prisoner wants to be caught instigating or participating in a brawl.

Monitor Officers

Guards and correctional offers frequently act out of line with inmates, which is not only frowned upon, but it is illegal. To make sure that your officers are treating prisoners fairly and that they do not engage in any misconduct that could land your facility in hot water, update your surveillance systems and then let your officers know about it. Any officer that wants to keep his or her job will be sure to act with decorum when they’re on the clock.

Risks Associated With Prison Surveillance

Though there are a number of benefits associated with updating your facility’s CCTV systems, there also a number of known risks.

Tampering

Prisoners have a lot of free time on their hands, so if they want to tamper with your near security cameras, chances are that they will be able to. Even if you invest in vandal-proof cameras and take extra measures to reduce the likelihood of tampering, there is the strong possibility that one or more of your cameras will fall victim to vandalism. For this reason, it is smart to invest in a backup security plan.

Privacy

Inmates are people too, and as such, they too need their fair share of privacy. If you have too many cameras in place, your facility may come under fire for prisons’ rights violations. However, if you have too little, the safety of your prisoners and guards is at stake. Finding a balance may be tricky, but it’s necessary.

Over Reliance

You never want to rely too heavily on your CCTV surveillance system. While security cameras are effective and certainly necessary for keeping the peace in your facility, they should be used as a part of your overall security efforts, and not as the whole of your efforts.

How Best to Configure Your Prison Security Cameras

Correctional facilities usually present plenty of challenges when it comes to CCTV system installation. From ensuring that all rooms and passages are monitored to navigating prisoner rights issues to preventing vandalism, there are a lot of considerations a prison must give careful thought to before proceeding with installation. If you are not sure how to appropriately install your CCTV camera system, try to answer the following questions:

  • What areas are most susceptible to violent incidences?
  • Is inmate violence an issue in your facility?
  • Are you aware of any times when an inmate has been improperly treated by a guard or officer?
  • Are you aware of any particular risks within your facility?
  • Does your facility have a history of drug use?
  • How many guards and officers are scheduled to work at any given time?
  • Is there currently a security system in place?

 

By providing your surveillance installation team with the answers to these questions, you can better help them determine the best way to install your upgraded system.

Setup Advice

Though every correctional facility will require a different setup, some best practices are as follows:

  • Make sure that there are adequate cameras in all common areas, including rec halls, the rec yard and the dining hall.
  • All hallways, corridors, stairwells and other areas where inmates regularly travel should be closely monitored as well.
  • Video cameras should be mounted so that they can keep a virtual eye on all cell-block activity, without actually looking into prisoner cells.
  • Cameras should be situated in booking and identification areas, as well as in the nurse’s station.
  • CCTV cameras should be installed at all entrances and in all visiting areas.

 

Work With Your Enfield Surveillance Company

At Mammoth Surveillance, our Enfield security camera installation team is trained to navigate and overcome unique security system challenges such as those posed by correctional facilities. If you own or manage a prison, juvenile detention facility or even county jail, you need an effective surveillance system. Call our team to schedule a consultation and to have an effective camera system design drawn up today.

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