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Incident Mapping

NCJ Number
Corrections Forum Volume: 12 Issue: 4 Dated: July/August 2003 Pages: 32-34
Thomas S. Kapinos
Date Published
July 2003
3 pages
This article offers a look at how geographical information systems (GIS) can be used in correctional facilities.
GIS is a mapping system that links mapping with spatial analysis. Patterns in behavior that were previously hidden suddenly become clear. GIS offers the corrections industry many options for the future. For example, the GIS of the future will allow corrections to track inmate movement throughout the facility, to track the movement of infectious diseases throughout the facility, and to map incidents in order to determine patterns to violence. GIS has yet to be used in corrections facilities because it normally operates in two dimensions, whereas prisons typically employ a cell-above-cell construction. However, a joint project between the National Institute of Justice’s National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) Southeast and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Technology Center (SRTC) incorporated a third dimension into GIS by integrating computer-aided design into the technology. The article provides examples of all the possibilities GIS offers to the corrections industry, such as the ability to pinpoint potentially dangerous areas in a facility which provides a basis for proactive investigation and enforcement. The major advantage of mapping and analysis systems is that a significant amount of data will be readily available to inform corrections decisions.