Mission Critical: Integrating security systems in jails, prisons, and detention centers.
Here at GenX Security we've had some pretty sensitive commercial jobs requiring a high-degree of exact timing and logistics (read our case studies!), and we post a lot about residential and business security installation and integration, but have you ever wondered about what it would be like in the high-stakes, mission-critical environment of installing and integrating a security system for a lock-down facility of high-risk residents, like a jail, penitentiary, prison, and detention center? What about a jail-break? We found this terrific day-in-the-life article of just that featured at commercialintegrator.com.
In those cases, installers must have prison guards with them at all times as escorts, says Holmes, a move that’s made for their safety but can sometimes slow down the progress of an installation when they forget a tool, need a replacement piece of equipment or another unexpected change comes up.
Even though prisoners in existing buildings are vacated from the areas where SWC works on a given day, the guards work with the installers to ensure control of their equipment and tools and to make sure they walk out of the facilities with everything they brought.
“The last thing we’d want to happen is for one of our tools to get in the hands of one of the prisoners,” says Holmes.
Before entering a detention center of any kind, SWC technicians go through training related to the Prison Rape Elimination Act. There are no women in the field for SWC but Holmes says that could happen someday and they’d welcome anyone who’s willing and able to do the job to join them.
It’s an intense existence, which means it’s not always easy to find good help, he says.
“One of the challenges we face is finding qualified people who are willing to do the work,” says Holmes, noting there are about 32 people in SWC’s detention division. “Not a lot of people know something like this exists. It’s definitely pretty specialized.”
The company also does work in healthcare facilities and schools and colleges, but Holmes notes there’s no crossover among the three parts of the company.
Holmes says he’s never had any issues with prisoners while installing systems and doesn’t recall any for anyone at SWC either.
“The inmates aren’t aggressive toward contractors,” says Holmes. “If you think about it, their cells are their homes and we’re the guys in there fixing problems with their homes. I’ve never felt threatened. They tend to watch out for us.”
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