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Operational Efficiencies in Jail-Justice Complex: The Attractiveness of the Design Goes Beyond Skin Deep

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 32 Issue: 5 Dated: May 2005 Pages: 94,96,99
Michael Havens
Date Published
May 2005
5 pages
This article describes the existing physical and operational specifications of the Houston County Detention Center in Perry, GA, as well as its plans for the use of biometrics and digital video.
The detention center is part of the County Judicial Complex, which includes the detention facility and courthouse on a single campus. A tunnel joins the 500-bed detention center and the courthouse, facilitating security and cost-savings for the transporting of inmates to the courthouse for processing. An officer in the detention center's control room directs the master controls of the entire facility on two touchscreens. Two main corridors connected by the centrally located control room allow staff to be viewed from the control center at all times. Four maximum-security pods use the indirect method of supervision, and the facility's direct supervision pods enable one roving officer to supervise up to four direct-supervision dayrooms. In an emergency, the officer can move inmates to a fenced-off refuge area outside or to another dayroom. When the detention facility was built, biometrics technology was not sufficiently reliable for use in its operations. Currently, however, biometrics has developed to the point that the Houston County Sheriffs Department is negotiating with AWT Inc. of Cumming, GA, to procure at least one booking and release station with facial recognition readers for the main detention center and possibly a station for its satellite jail. AWT has provided biometric capability to airports, casinos, health care, and law enforcement facilities. The operation of the facial recognition system and its usefulness in jail operations is described in this article. The detention center is also considering a digital video recorder (DVR) system from AWT, which can be configured to trigger only when sensing motion. Multiple cameras can track an inmate as he moves from point to point throughout the facility.