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How Much Does a Prison/Correctional Facility Security Camera System Cost?

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There are few areas where security is more important than in a prison. You need to keep inmates in, contraband out, and staff and prisoners safe. Guards, of course, cannot be everywhere at once, so most prisons and correctional facilities rely on a security camera system.

In this environment, video surveillance is a necessity. As equipment becomes outdated or begins breaking down, it must be replaced as quickly as possible. What's more, technology advances at such a rapid rate, security camera systems with improved capabilities and recording features hit the market frequently. While cost is a concern, security is the first priority of any correctional facility.

Benefits of a Prison/Correctional Facility Security Camera System

To the general public, it may seem the greatest security risk in a prison setting is the threat of prisoners escaping. The reality, of course, is much different. In addition to violent acts perpetrated by inmates, prison managers have to monitor against drug use and other crimes as well as misconduct among guards and other correctional staff.

If you run a prison, you don't need to be told surveillance systems are necessary. But, what you may not realize is how advanced they have become and how their increased capabilities work to create a safer, more secure prison environment. And, though the cost to upgrade your system may feel prohibitive, technology advances lead to greater efficiencies and cost savings.

The benefits of a prison security camera system include:

  • Greater surveillance coverage: Prisons cover a vast amount of space containing numerous discrete areas, and there is no area of a prison that doesn't require close surveillance. Since resources forbid the manpower to adequately cover this much space, you need security cameras to fill in the gap.
  • Deter violent behavior: Tensions are high in a prison environment and with so many people, fights are inevitable. Obvious surveillance helps deter violence and other criminal acts.
  • Help maintain order in highly populated areas: Any area where large numbers of prisoners convene presents a heightened security risk, so you want multiple cameras covering every angle and inch of space.
  • Monitor inmates: It's often easier to spot issues from the vantage point of a camera than down among the inmates.
  • Monitor corrections staff: Surveillance cameras also help police the police, so to speak. Footage can be used in investigations of officer misconduct to either prove or disprove the charges. And, as with prisoners, knowledge of surveillance can help prevent misconduct.
  • Prevent smuggling: Inmates often attempt to smuggle narcotics and other contraband. Surveillance cameras help prevent that.
  • Provide evidence: When incidents do occur, surveillance footage provides valuable evidence for investigators.
  • Improved transport security: Areas where prisoners and visitors are escorted through the facility present a security risk that video surveillance helps alleviate.
  • Remote monitoring: Digital security systems allow approved users to access camera feeds from a remote location using any connected device.
  • Improved storage and search features: Digital technology means the end of physical tapes that require physical storage and aren't easy to search.

How Much Does a Prison Security Camera System Cost?

Without knowing the size of the facility or number of cameras and monitors needed, estimating the total cost of a prison surveillance system is impossible. However, we can offer some basic price structure information to give you an idea.

  • A fully installed, 2-camera outdoor system with LCD monitor costs around $450
  • A fully installed, 4-camera outdoor system with LCD monitor costs around $1,000
  • A fully installed, 8-camera outdoor system with LCD monitor costs around $3,500

The average cost to completely outfit a correctional facility ranges between $20,000 and $30,000. However, much depends on the prison's size.

Additional Security Camera Considerations

Inmates have a lot of time on their hands and not a lot of intellectual stimulation. There's a tendency to think of ways to cause trouble. It is not unheard of for prisoners to damage security cameras, from tampering with wiring to completely destroying them. Your budget should include costs to replace damaged cameras. You also need to follow state law, as well as facility guidelines, as regards camera placement. Some areas forbid surveillance cameras in individual cells as a privacy violation. Make sure you understand and follow local ordinances when designing and installing your system.

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