Optimizing Surveillance Systems in Correctional Settings

Research Report

Optimizing Surveillance Systems in Correctional Settings

A Guide for Enhancing Safety and Security


This guidebook outlines steps for maximizing the impact of correctional surveillance programs on safety for correctional staff and incarcerated persons, including questions decision makers should consider to optimize their surveillance systems. The guide can help agencies identify surveillance goals, consider their systems’ limitations and constraints, and develop strategies for meaningful improvements. We draw on findings from our 2016-2019 partnership with the Minnesota Department of Corrections, during which we identified strategies for improving the camera program at two state prisons and assessed the degree to which these upgrades impacted prison safety. Our team also interviewed stakeholders who were directly involved in making decisions about the prisons’ surveillance systems, as well as staff who routinely used its footage in their work.

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