Integrated Security Systems: The Keys to Maximum Security in 2010

By Schiffner, Bill | Corrections Forum, January/February 2010 | Go to article overview

Integrated Security Systems: The Keys to Maximum Security in 2010


Schiffner, Bill, Corrections Forum


New digital technologies improving integrated security systems are continuing to aid in early detection of escape or intrusion from the outside. Despite a growing prison population, Bureau of Justice Statistics figures show that inmate escapes have come down dramatically between 1999 and 2008. Advances in technology have played a huge role in making those numbers drop.

In fact, the number of people incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails more than quadrupled between 1975 and 2005, reaching the unprecedented level of over 2 million inmates in 2009. Annual corrections spending now exceeds $64 billion, but will the current economic conditions cause these numbers to decrease?

How will possible cuts in government spending affect security systems in existing facilities? What are some of the other hot buttons, products and trends for 2010? To answer these and other questions, we polled a number of leading systems integrators and suppliers in the marketplace.

Security integration is about tying together electronic components on the inside and outside-including but not limited to access doors, computers, fence sensors, duress alarms, audio, and surveillance cameras. How are prisons, jails and detention centers gaining the edge with the latest technologies, what are the latest components and how are they all working in concert together?

Outdoor perimeter security installations can be some of the most challenging, especially for systems integrators. These weather-tight, reliable installations have to withstand everything from break-outs to blizzards and tornados. Vestal, NY-based DeTekion Security Systems, Inc. has provided their perimeter intrusion detection systems to the correctional industry both in the U.S. and abroad since 1992.

"Correctional facilities are more aimed at keeping people in, so the technology must be specialized and all systems must be able to work well together," says Baruch Koren, vice president marketing & sales at the company.

Koren sees hybrid systems as one of the growing trends in the industry going forward. "Hybrid systems tend to be more economical and easier to install and upgrade. Our Perimeter Intrusion Detection System (PIDS) Hybrid system uses a sensor cable shaker at the bottom of the fence to detect if someone [is] cutting it and at the top of the fence we put a more elaborate system to detect cutting at the top." Detection is the best form of protection, he points out, and can offer facilities "the most bang for their buck."

He also sees second or third systems being installed on the outer fence of some facilities to deter outsiders from helping inmates escape. "The elements of successful perimeter security are to deter, protect, delay and respond. By adding sensors on the outer fence, it offers more control over the entire system. Many correctional institutions across the country are employing multiple PIDS technologies to protect their facilities from escape attempts from both inside and out," he reports.

"Another one of our products, the Wave-Guard "RF" IDS is ideally suited to complement the unique outdoor security requirements that are indigenous to various corrections environments. It can act as a stand-alone system or be strategically coupled with other types of sensors or razor ribbon to increase the overall security performance at the site," he says.

Koren notes that rooftop applications often combine the WaveGuard's radio frequency technology with razor ribbon to secure this vulnerable area. He adds that fence and wall applications often combine the Wave-Guard with fence and wall mounted sensors in addition to razor ribbon. The most common WaveGuard application in a correctional environment is direct burial in the ground.

"The integrated systems of today are offering the facility more control, but you still have to constantly test the systems to make sure all these products are working together," Koren concludes.

Fiscal Challenges Ahead

Brian Freeman, president at Herndon, Va. …

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