Technology upgrades coming to jail

Scott County sets aside thousands for capital improvements

Scott County has a quarter of a million dollars set aside for technology and camera upgrades to the Scott County Jail and the Juvenile Detention Center.

The majority of the money is going towards the overall surveillance system. The county has allotted $265,000 for reworking the system, which is 8 years old. That sum also includes purchasing 21 new cameras for areas where there weren't devices in place before. These were primarily classrooms and program rooms where staff, inmates, and volunteers gathered in groups. 

"The jail recently has a PREA audit, that's the Prison Rape Elimination Act, that's required for part of their certification, and they identified some additional locations where they thought cameras were probably needed," said Scott County Director of Facilities Tammy Speidel." Additionally to that PREA audit, the jail has been in use now for about ten years so it was time to reevaluate some locations and make sure we have adequate coverage."

Staff of the Scott County Sheriff's Office say that with the aging technology it was impossible to keep up with federal requirements. They also say that not having surveillance in certain areas was unsafe, and this is an important fix. 

"Technology is always changing it's always upgrading, it's always getting better," said current Jail Administrator Bryce Schmidt. "So to have better cameras for the security of both the inmates and the staff is very important."

The Scott County Sheriff's Department also asked for $22,00 for a new booking camera for mugshots. 

"It's important that we have current up to date camera system that monitors so many different areas and housing units and add in the cameras that we're looking for," said interim captain Stephanie Burnett, who said she was concerned for staff and volunteers with the holes in the current system. "It can be a dangerous place to work so we want to make sure that we have modern technology for the safety of our inmates and the safety of our staff."

The rewiring of the surveillance technology in the Juvenile Detention Center and the jail is expected to start at the end of July and take about seven weeks for each building.

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