Northumberland County prison ups security, technology
SUNBURY, Feb 07, 2013 (The News-Item - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Northumberland County Prison, which uses 48 security cameras to keep track of prisoners and the facility, expects to have 90 video surveillance cameras operational within the next two years.
Prison board members unanimously agreed Wednesday to pay a maximum of $75,000 in the next 18 months to two years for the purchase and maintenance of 90 cameras. The prison presently utilizes 36 analogue and 12 digital security cameras.
The board unanimously supported a motion by Northumberland County President Judge Robert B. Sacavage to have all areas of the prison monitored by cameras within the next six months.
Warden Roy Johnson and Operations Commander Brian Wheary said 12 more digital cameras are expected to be installed at the prison within the next two weeks. Johnson said within the next two years, there will be 90 digital cameras installed at the prison. He said digital cameras provide better quality than the analogue system. But the warden said analogue cameras will still be used as long as they function properly.
The warden said current cameras at the prison were purchased from Keystone Communications in Northumberland, which also maintains the equipment when necessary.
Board members also unanimously approved a motion by Sacavage to complete all work involved with making the prison compatible for video conferencing within 90 days.
Commissioner Vinny Clausi stated, "We've been working for years on this, it's time to move."
Sacavage, who agreed with the commissioner, added, "We've been upgrading the video equipment in the magistrate offices and other parts of the court system for the past several years and we are continuing to move forward, but we've encountered some technological glitches in making the prison compatible to video conferencing. I would like to see the project completed as quickly as possible because it will save a lot of money and make the entire court system run more efficiently."
Clausi said the commissioners support the prison board in its efforts to install more security cameras and implement the video conferencing system.
The board appointed prison board chairman and county commissioner Stephen Bridy to serve as a liaison for the video conferencing project.
Sacavage invited Bridy to see how video conferencing currently works in the court system.
In his monthly report, Johnson said the current prison population is 243, including 212 male and 31 female inmates.
He said the highest population last month was 272 on Jan. 7, while the lowest was 237 on Jan. 29.
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