Although surveillance cameras are widely used in correctional settings, there has been little research on their effectiveness, especially in jail settings, so this article reports on a study that examined how implementing closed-circuit television in jail housing units in a large Eastern city influenced inmate perceptions of safety and incidents of violence and misconduct.
Data were collected through surveys with 101 inmates and administrative records of inmate infractions, incidents of self-harm, and officer use of force. Data were collected over a period of 68 months, 56 months before and 12 months after the cameras were installed. Data were analyzed through ÷ 2 tests, independent sample t-tests, and structural break (time series) analyses. Semi-structured interviews with 14 correctional staff were analyzed qualitatively to provide contextual information. Findings indicate that although inmate perceptions of safety changed after implementing cameras, analyses of reported incidents did not show any change. These mixed results may be due to a combination of deterrence and detection effects or to cameras not being paired with more effective monitoring. (Publisher abstract modified)
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