Correctional facility security systems are expected to be nothing short of impeccable. These facilities are tasked with containing some of the most dangerous people in the country – and any security failures create a serious risk to public safety.
Integrated security systems have evolved significantly within the last 10-20 years – and correctional facilities are obligated to stay on the forefront of this innovation. Integrated security alarm systems have become the status quo in modern facilities, but investing in one involves many different factors.
In this article, we want to explore the nature of security system integration for correctional facilities, as well as the challenges and considerations decision-makers need to account for.
Let’s dive in.
The Evolving Nature of Security Challenges in Correctional Facilities
Correctional facility security systems have been evolving since the dawn of civilization.
Initially, prisons and jails relied primarily on physical restraints – like chains, shackles, and thick walls for containment. By the 19th century, the rehabilitation philosophy paved the way for the “Pennsylvania System” which focused on solitary confinement and reflection as a form of punishment.
Advancements throughout the 20th and 21st centuries integrated security systems with electronic surveillance, biometrics, and professional monitoring technology. Today’s correctional facilities combine all aspects of architectural design, technology, and specialized training to maintain top-level security – while emphasizing prisoner rights and rehabilitation.
Challenges in Correctional Facility Security Systems
Firstly, as correctional facility security systems evolved, prisoners adapted. This involved the proliferation of contraband – especially drugs and cell phones – which impact safety and order within a facility.
Secondly, the rise of prison gangs and organized crime poses threats both inside and outside correctional facilities, calling for more intricate intelligence and surveillance methods.
Third, overcrowding has been an ongoing issue in United States prisons. This increases the likelihood of violent incidents and other issues. Lastly, physical threats are only part of the challenges in prisons these days. Cyber threats – including unauthorized digital communication – can aid in escapes and other criminal activities within prisons.
Balancing inmate rehabilitation with the increasing sophistication of security threats remains a constant challenge for correctional facility security systems.
Understanding an Integrated Security Alarm System
An integrated security alarm system in a correctional facility is made up of many different technologies and processes – all within a unified platform. At the core, these integrated security systems allow correctional personnel to manage the following tasks 24/7:
- Real-time monitoring
- Alarm triggering
- Response coordination
- Authority and emergency services dispatch
The modern security alarm system combines technology and advanced features like:
- Security cameras
- Biometric systems
- Motion sensors
- Access control protocols
- Communication networks
- Alarm systems
- Battery backup
- Facial recognition
- Cloud storage
By unifying these components within a single platform, correctional facilities take a big step closer to maximizing the operational efficiency and effectiveness of their security measures – and making sure all threats and incidents are detected in the early stages and addressed appropriately.
For a facility owner – or decision maker – an integrated security alarm system translates to better safety, more streamlined operations, and (if used properly) reduced costs in the long run.
Key Benefits of Integrated Security Systems in Correctional Facilities
There are many, many benefits to security alarm system integration in a correctional facility. Some of the major ones to keep in mind include:
Improved Inmate Management
An integrated security alarm system benefits the entire correctional facility. Modern setups are designed to assist in monitoring inmate movements, and behaviors, as well as managing communications more effectively – contributing to overall safety and order.
Real-time Monitoring and Response
Any issues within a correction facility need to be managed in the early stages to maintain control. Integrated security systems provide immediate detection of security breaches or suspicious activity, enabling swift intervention from prison personnel.
The data-based nature of modern correctional facility security systems simplifies the process of analyzing patterns in video analytics, assessing risks, and making more informed decisions to benefit day-to-day operations.
Efficiency and Cost Savings
While the upfront costs of an integrated security alarm system are high, a unified platform provides a multitude of benefits that reduce long-term costs. On the surface level, modern security systems reduce the need for redundant hardware and personnel.
Flexibility and Scalability
Perhaps the biggest benefit of integrated security systems is growth accommodation. Most new-age setups are designed to be easily expanded or adjusted to incorporate new technologies or meet evolving security needs.
An integrated security alarm system creates better communication between security personnel and other correctional officials. At the core, this helps to improve coordinated responses during emergencies.
Reduction in Human Error
Automation is at the core of modern correctional facility security systems. These processes significantly reduce the risk of human oversight to manage threats more effectively.
Audit and Compliance
A centralized security alarm system helps to maintain compliance with regulatory standards and simplifies security audits.
As security systems become more connected, cybersecurity is one of the top concerns for the companies that produce this type of equipment. A reliable security partner will perform regular updates and patches to keep the facility safe from online threats.
Considerations for an Integrated Security Alarm System in Correctional Facilities
Investing in, upgrading, or managing correctional facility security systems is a big step for decision-makers – and there are many factors to consider in this process. Some of the major ones include:
High Initial Costs
Integration of a new system tends to require a significant upfront budget. This involves designing, planning, and implementing the system throughout the facility. While these costs are high, it’s important to understand the long-term value. If managed properly, an integrated security alarm system can prevent a plethora of threats.
Combining correctional facility security systems is an intricate process. Prison owners/decision-makers will need to hire specialized expertise to ensure smooth operation.
Maintenance and Upgrades
Over time, integrated security systems require maintenance and periodic updates. This is to ensure that all components remain compatible, cyber threats are minimal, and everything works perfectly.
Training and Adaptation
When a new system is integrated, all personnel need to be trained to use it – and also to adapt to its continual evolution. This can be a difficult process for many prison personnel.
There will always be cybersecurity threats in an integrated security system. The good news is most modern systems factor in these risks and continuously release upgrades to stay protected against evolving crime.
What’s the Next Step?
Professional installation of an integrated security alarm system is not an easy process.
The first step is speaking with a specialized security company. All correctional facilities are different, and an expert team will need to closely examine the facility to determine the needs and design the system infrastructure.
At 2 Krew Security & Surveillance, we consult with correctional facilities to assist in the planning, implementation, training, and updates of integrated security systems. In addition to correctional facilities, we work with business owners in Pittsburgh and the Tri-State Area to achieve peace of mind with advanced commercial security setups and other services.
We also manage home security systems and smart home integration for residential properties.
Get started today!