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Evaluating Correctional Technology: What To Look for When Purchasing Perimeter Security, Communications, or Monitoring and Surveillance Systems

NCJ Number
Corrections Today Volume: 60 Issue: 4 Dated: July 1998 Pages: 58-60-82
Date Published
10 pages
This article explains the expanded use of technology in corrections in the areas of perimeter security, communications, and monitoring and surveillance systems, and offers guidelines on evaluating their usefulness for a particular agency.
The perimeter security approach chosen will be influenced by the nature of the facility, the setting, activity around the site, perceived threats, weather, and other factors. At least 22 intrusion detection sensor technologies are available. Decision-makers should consider other users' experience with the technology, the availability of parts, the warranty, and many other factors when assessing a perimeter security system. Communications technologies include smart cards, personal locator devices, personal duress alarms, panic buttons, vehicle radios, and walkie-talkies. Communications technology must be customized for a specific site and flexible enough to meet changing conditions. Decision-makers should review comparative information, consult with communications experts, and consider 25 specific issues when purchasing a communications system. Monitoring and surveillance systems include global positioning satellites, access control systems, closed-circuit television, motion detectors, and audio monitors. System planning should incorporate both a facility's security needs and staff requirements into the design process. The agency should retain specialized personnel and consider 16 issues ranging from maintenance and repair to staff training. Having a formal research and evaluation process and discussing technology with other corrections agencies improve the chances of success and satisfaction with the technology. Photographs

Date Published: January 1, 1998