Jailhouse Rock-Solid Security


Model i-Pro WV-NW484S vandal-resistant day/night fixed domes are used externally to view parking lots and other areas. This model utilizes an auto-image stabilizer for applications where wind and vibration are a consideration, such as when they are mounted on light poles. In addition, five i-Pro WV-NW964 p/t/z vandal-resistant cameras are used to monitor the outside perimeter including parking areas. Built-in heater units enable operation in subzero temperatures.

“The idea of video is to both provide surveillance for events and to record and control movement, especially movement from inside the secure perimeter to the outside, typically through a sally port, either for vehicles or people,” says Robert Bayers, a security specialist at TowerPinkster. “There is at least one camera and up to two intercoms inside the sally port, and an additional camera on the outside door. No matter what happens, we have complete coverage of that area.”

Handling All That Video Storage

Video recording is handled by two i-Pro WJ-ND400/9000 NVRs, each with nine removable 1TB hard disk drives, providing a total of 18TB of storage. The system is intended to provide between 30 to 45 days of archived footage. The frame rate is currently set at the default setting (15 fps); however, jail personnel can lower it in situations where there is little activity.

“No matter how scientific it sounds, a lot of it is trial and error, a custom mix,” says Beeson. “There is flexibility.”

At the heart of the solution is a Panasonic management server, coordinating the operation of all the system components while tasking individual elements to perform actions on their own. By integrating cameras, recorders, controllers and monitors, the management server provides total system control while allowing diverse elements to work together as a complete system. It also operates as an integration point for other systems like PLC lock controllers.

Fourteen Panasonic WJ-GXD400 decoders are used to convert IP signals to be displayed on 42-inch plasma monitors. The Panasonic WV-CU950 system controller enables camera views to be called up from various locations. There are two controllers in each control room and a total of 13 in all, each providing joysticks for p/t/z operation and a numeric keypad for direct access to cameras.

Model i-Pro WV-ASM100 management software enables jail staff to view multiple cameras from several NVRs on a single screen, to customize the views and to look for past events in storage.

Integrating All Jail Sectors

Integration of the jail’s security solution can best be appreciated by understanding the diverse areas it helps secure. The jail’s door control, intercom, card access control and video surveillance systems all go back to three head-ends, depending on loc
ation within the complex.

“We will actually put different head-ends or different control areas throughout the facility, depending on how many controls rooms there are and then they will be networked together so that they all talk to each other,” Brandsma says.

In all, there are eight dedicated rooms that control different pods or sections of the jail. The various functions of the integrated solution are executed by way of mouse control via a user interface displayed on the computerized plasma monitors.

“The interface ties together the jail’s cameras, door locks, lights, guard tour system and intercoms. Door control incorporates [PLCs] for heavy-duty detention locks, electronic strikes and magnetic locks, some of which are also tied into the access system,” Brandsma says.

Digital intercoms by Aiphone are integrated with the VMS so that when an intercom goes on, an associated camera feeds an image of its location to the control room monitor. “When that intercom button is pushed it goes back through the PLC and it tells the camera system that I want to see who is at that door,” Brandsma says.

The camera associated with the intercom is displayed in the control room on a separate monitor so the person running the controls can then identify and converse with the person at the intercom.

The system is utilized in the jail’s seven housing units, ranging from work-release and trustee inmates to maximum security. One housing unit is a “direct supervision” pod with a capacity of 56 inmates. Direct supervision means there is no physical separation between the staff and inmates — a corrections officer sits openly at a control station desk, an arrangement that has been shown to relieve stress between staff and inmates.

There are also two 56-bed general population units operated remotely by one or more corrections officers from a single control unit that overlooks the two housing units from the mezzanine. Each pod includes a common dayroom area with chairs and open seating, surrounded by jail cells, each with two bunks.

There is also a 20-inmate maximum security/segregation pod, and a 32-inmate pod for female inmates (combining minimum, medium and maximum security), with a second shared control room overseeing both. Each control room has access to camera coverage, intercoms for communication, and the door control and monitoring system.

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