This issue of TechBeat discusses the use of high-definition camera systems in correctional institutions to reduce violence and correctional costs.
This spring 2011 issue of TechBeat describes the use of a high-definition camera system by an Oklahoma correctional facility to reduce the incidence of violence at the facility. The device was installed at the Oklahoma County Detention Center in late 2009. The camera was installed as a result of a U.S. Department of Justice directive to the facility to hire 200 additional detention officers in order to reduce violence and improve security at the facility. Center officials found that the camera was a less-costly alternative than the hiring of 200 additional detention officers which could have cost the center upwards of $10 million per year in salary and benefits. The system installed at the facility contains high-definition megapixel cameras that can cover the entire facility. By having fixed cameras, officers are able to digitally zoom in and capture everything happening in that specific area of the facility. Since the installation of the system, the number of detention officer-on-inmate altercations and inmate-on-inmate altercations has dropped 90 percent, from 300 and 200, respectively, per month, down to 30 and 20-25 per month, respectively. Officials have also found that the cameras protect officers from false claims of excessive force, reducing the number of lawsuits filed against the county.
Best Practice/State-of-the-Art Review
Date Published: April 1, 2011