Body Cameras in Corrections? Get Ready for Game-Changing Benefits  

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Body cameras may be most widely associated with police officers and sheriff’s deputies from coast to coast, but these days, they are also revolutionizing the corrections environment. Their impact profoundly reshapes corrections management by enhancing safety, ensuring transparency, and upholding accountability.  

John Boyd, a retired Sheriff with over 30 years of experience in Law Enforcement, shares, “As body cameras become more common in the corrections environments, we are seeing improvements in terms of officer and inmate safety. We’re also seeing where the footage captured by these cameras provides a welcome layer of protection against liability while mitigating any possible misconduct.”  

  Recognizing the benefits body cameras bring to corrections, we must pivot our focus to the foundational work necessary to ensure their success. Now, let’s delve into how setting clear policies and proactively addressing potential concerns can pave the way for a smooth and effective implementation. 

An officer wearing a EOS by Utility™ Body Camera

While the benefits of having body cameras in corrections are clear, it’s important to point out some common concerns that, if left unaddressed, can be a barrier to implementation. Front and center: rights to privacy and questions about the way video data will be stored, accessed, and shared over time.  

 Officer-worn cameras are still a fairly new concept in corrections, so leaders must take great care to proactively address legal and ethical concerns before implementation begins. The most effective way to ensure the best outcome is to take your time leading up to implementation and work diligently and collaboratively on specific policies that govern the cameras and footage. 

Corrections leaders can learn from their counterparts in law enforcement, adapting tried and tested policy points to use in corrections. This approach must allow room for privacy rights specific to each state or jurisdiction.  

Body camera implementation should always be policy-based, and each facility should have a policy well ahead of any “go-live” date. Policies should:  

  • Include clear guidelines for when and where a body camera may be activated.  
  • Specify timelines for data storage and retention.     
  • Explicitly prohibit data tampering, deleting, copying, or releasing sensitive and protected information and images.  

  When it comes to corrections facilities, one thing is clear: incidents happen. Riots, assaults on staff, use-of-force incidents, and contraband raids are an unfortunate part of the job for officers. When corrections leaders consider implementing body cameras into their facility, their strategy should begin with a simple and familiar question: “Will this help keep my staff and my incarcerated population safer?” The answer here is a clear yes. 

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A guard walking with a prisoner. Sourced from Canva Pro

Once a facility has a clear, transparent policy in place, it’s time to get the body cameras into circulation and effect positive change in your organization. How?  

  • Document incidents: By recording interactions between officers, inmates, and visitors, you receive a precise record of events in assessing any incident after the fact.  
  • Enhance the training of corrections: Using captured footage for performance evaluation enhances training and ensures that best practices are followed.
  • Corroborate claims: During investigations, turn to body camera footage to verify or challenge claims made. This record serves as an indispensable tool for ensuring fairness and objectivity in resolving disputes, thereby upholding the integrity of the corrections system.  
  • Hold officers to a high standard: Deter any inappropriate behavior by the incarcerated population or staff. Body cameras are a powerful reminder of accountability, always encouraging professionalism within the prison walls.  
  • Provide legal protection: This goes for officers and inmates in case disputes require resolution. Such documentation is a critical safeguard, ensuring that all parties have access to unbiased evidence in judicial proceedings.

 “There are many complaints and allegations filed against officers,” says Dean Williams, previous Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections. “Body Cameras offer an antidote to much of this. Not only do they help tell the truth, but they also provide a safeguard as the inmate population will know soon enough that these cameras are now routine gear for a corrections officer.” 

Body cameras can help ensure you comply with established policies and procedures. Over time, it helps you build a culture of accountability and high ethical standards. Looking outward, these new levels of transparency can also help build trust with the community. 

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EOS by Utility™ Body Cameras

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Command Staff using POLARIS by Utility™ to monitor for incidents.

Utility, Inc. offers several helpful, powerful technology solutions in one unified platform that is ideal for corrections environments. “It’s hard to overstate the importance of having a single location to access collected footage, analyze it for an actionable response, and manage the data and secure sharing. ,” said Susan Smith, Product Manager at Utility, Inc.  “This includes all footage, whether from body cameras, in-vehicle transport cameras and IP-based surveillance cameras in a facility.”

The Utility, Inc. solution set starts with EOS by Utility™, the most intelligent police body camera system, which seamlessly integrates with our connected universe of Solutions. Our TITAN by Utility™ solution offers a unified platform designed for seamless IP camera video integration, facilitating prompt incident response, swift crime resolution, and enhanced safety. Through POLARIS by Utility™, our versatile incident and digital evidence management platform, video evidence can be categorized, annotated, and swiftly integrated into cases all from a single and secure cloud-based system.  Utility helps clients save the day every day with digital innovations that are revitalizing frontline professions, renewing respect and authority, and restoring trust. 

 Ready to elevate your correctional facility’s safety and accountability? Contact Utility, Inc. today to see our comprehensive body camera and surveillance solutions in action and join the many departments transforming their operations with our technology. 

About Utility, Inc.

Utility, the innovative technology-enabled service provider recognized for creating groundbreaking digital systems for frontline professions, provides a universe of intuitive products for effectively capturing, managing, and releasing video evidence. Technologies include a variety of cameras, sensors, and devices, as well as situational awareness software solutions for law enforcement, first responders, campus security, transportation agencies, and utility providers.

Learn how Utility’s Universe of Solutions works together to improve safety, transparency, and accountability

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