The Nevada Department of Corrections needed to be sure that at its locations across the state, officers would be able to reliably open and close cell doors, particularly in an emergency situation such as a lockdown or a fire. Corrections officers also needed to be able to quickly determine which inmates should be allowed to enter which cells – to avoid unauthorized access that might lead to fights, assault and theft. Previously, while cell doors could be opened and closed remotely from the facility’s control room, the system lacked the security that comes from redundancy – a second control system as backup. And, the only way corrections officers could keep track of which inmate was assigned to which cell was through printed identity cards attached to a diagram of the facility. It was hard to keep this up to date. As well, the micro-switches on the control panel were prone to breaking and needed frequent maintenance.
Verus has supported correction facility automation at several Nevada locations, automating their cell door controls. This includes a control panel with a screen showing a diagram of the facility. Highlighting any cell brings up a visual of the assigned inmates’ ID cards, together with current information about each inmate, such as their assigned work duty. The new system tracks activity such as inmates’ requests for help, which supports accountability by inmates and the corrections staff. In doing this work, Verus focused on using off-the-shelf hardware to allow for easier component replacement, and on making the entire interface solid enough to stand up to the realities of the corrections environment.
Facilities where Verus has worked are well positioned to benefit from future technology developments and upgrades.