More than 300 video surveillance cameras will be fully operational and monitored in an area like this in the Tutwiler Prison for Women in  Wetumpka. The existing cameras were either broken, outdated or not in a proper place to monitor inmates. Photo courtesy of Alabama Department of Corrections
More than 300 video surveillance cameras will be fully operational and monitored in an area like this in the Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka. The existing cameras were either broken, outdated or not in a proper place to monitor inmates. Photo courtesy of Alabama Department of Corrections

Almost $1.5 million in cameras installed at Tutwiler

Published 4:01pm Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Alabama Department of Corrections announced Thursday the completion of the installation and training to properly operate more than 300 video surveillance cameras in Wetumpka’s Tutwiler Prison for Women.

Gov. Robert Bentley called characterized the installation of the cameras a “milestone.”

That “milestone” would not have been accomplished had the National Institute of Corrections, the Equal Justice Initiative as well as the U.S. Department of Justice not pointed out the rash number of inadequacies within the prison.

In the NIC’s 38-page report to ADOC, surveillance cameras were one of the 11 areas highlighted. In the NIC report, it noted the lack of cameras and that some which were already present were broken.

“Completion of the camera installation at Tutwiler is a significant accomplishment for the Alabama Department of Corrections and continued proof of the department’s efforts to make the facility safer for inmates and staff,” Bentley said is a press release from ADOC.

The state Legislature allocated $1.4 million for the cameras in Tutwiler.

The prison, which was built in 1942, is at almost double its maximum capacity. At least 700 female inmates are housed in the prison.

“Inmate and staff safety remains our top priority. I’m grateful to the governor and Legislature for recognizing the importance of this monitoring system and appropriating the necessary funding for its implementation,” ADOC Commissioner Kim Thomas said. “I’m also pleased that the installation and initial trainings are complete so we can begin utilizing this technology at Tutwiler, and use it as a blueprint for other facilities in the state.”

Training attendees included administrators from Tutwiler and Central Office as well as the sergeants who will be watching the wall of monitors.

In the ADOC press release, it states that prison sergeants received vendor training and began on-the-job training over the last two weeks.

ADOC says it expects 24-hour camera surveillance operations to begin next week.

“The combination of direct staff supervision with the new monitoring system provides a substantial safety enhancement make Tutwiler a better facility for everyone,” said Tutwiler warden Bobby Barrett.

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