Federal, state, and local prisons, as well as jails are challenged with controlling and stopping the flow of contraband, such as weapons, drugs, and other items into their sites. Not only do they face the traditional challenge of contraband being thrown or otherwise launched over a perimeter fence, but there is also the growing use of drones to fly over and drop contraband into prison yards.

While prisons have exterior fences and gates to prevent walkers or vehicles from easily accessing the facility, drones pose an entirely new threat to prison security teams. Not only is it important to know when a drone is in the area, but it’s important to know where the drone flies in relation to the prison to know where to search for potential dropped contraband. Prison security need time to location and confiscate the contraband items prior to prisoners having access to the items.

Long-range surveillance radar solutions are helping to solve this difficult challenge for prisons by tracking both ground and air threats as they approach the prison’s perimeter. This means prisons can have situational awareness relative to humans, ground vehicles, and air vehicles involved in the contraband delivery process. This awareness can extend extensive distances outside prison perimeters, which means prison officials have time to detect and track intrusions, locate contraband drop areas, confiscate contraband, and potentially interdict humans and vehicles involved.

GroundAware is a full-featured ground surveillance system with real-time deterrence and response capabilities, which provide a new level of situational awareness while reducing the overall number of humans required in the process. The system is designed to help protect prisons and other critical infrastructure facilities from bad-actor threats, including those most commonly impacting today’s prisons. GroundAware is specifically valuable in effectively countering contraband threats delivered via drone or person, as well as in automated monitoring for possible breakout scenarios.

Outlined below are sample applications for how our long-range surveillance radar solutions, GroundAware, are enhancing security at prison sites. Because every site is different and has different priorities, needs, and objectives, it’s important to find a solution that can meet your requirements for addressing other security scenarios faced by today’s correctional facilities.

Application 1: Contraband Detection, Tracking, and Response

GroundAware automates the process of detecting and defending against threats involved in contraband trafficking by adding an essential new layer of long-range detection to prisons’ physical security plans. With long-range detection and tracking, prisons can know about potential contraband activities long before outside actors (drones, humans, and automobiles) get close to prison perimeters. Not only does GroundAware provide awareness of these bad actors in real time, but the time for responding to them is increased exponentially – without the need for more involvement by prison staff.

GroundAware also provides an automated means of tracking human movements within prison perimeters, including areas where insider threats may be involved in contraband-related actions. GroundAware makes it easy to determine where the bad actors originated their activities, as the radar not only indicates where targets are going but also shows the trail following by bad actors from points of origin.

GroundAware eliminates the need for prison staff to patrol prison yards and perimeters or to monitor video screens in hopes of looking at the right place at the right time to discover contraband activities. When drones, humans, and vehicles enter areas in and around prisons, GroundAware will automatically notify responders of suspicious activities, then automatically trigger cameras to go to those locations, send mobile alerts to corrections officers, turn on security lights, sound audible alarms, or take any number of other steps to counter and/or mitigate contraband threats.

Application 2: Sensitive Area Detection, Tracking, and Notification

Even when contraband activities are not involved, prison grounds include areas where human or other encroachment at all or specific times is of interest to security staff. GroundAware eliminates the need for costly reliance on staff members to patrol those areas or to continuously monitor any available video feeds from cameras positioned in those areas. The use of GroundAware, rather than humans, is both more cost-effective and has the potential of reducing the number of staff members or freeing up staff members to do other tasks rather than physical patrolling of prison sites.

With GroundAware, prison staff can set up alarm zones on site that detect and deter against threats in the form of humans, animals, vehicles, and aircraft up to 15 kilometers away. These easily configurable zones may be redrawn and updated as often as needed, allowing flexibility as critical areas change. These zones may be designed to detect a range of movement (including crawling) in a particular direction, time, or speed to meet the unique needs of each sensitive area.

GroundAware also enables users to draw “silent zones” to demarcate areas in which the radar will neither track nor alarm on targets. Silent zones permit security operators to avoid alarming on common targets that raise no security concerns and avoid nuisance alarms.

For sensitive areas of prison facilities, GroundAware is a powerful automated tool for real-time awareness. Plus all the information gathered as security events transpire is automatically logged by GroundAware, including specific details, captured radar data, and captured video. These information is extremely valuable for after-action or “post-mortem” investigations into security events, as well as for potential prosecution of bad actors of various kinds whose presence and activities have been captured by the GroundAware system.

Application 3: Incident Management

GroundAware also provides powerful capabilities for real-timing monitoring, tracking, and automated response for other types of prison events such as inmate escapes. When escapees enter a GroundAware “alarm zone,” officers can be alerted in real time before the situation escalates or time has elapsed. These zones can be configured inside prison perimeter fences, as well as outside, with alarms and alerts configured to respond accordingly. And if escapees have managed to elude recapture and have gotten away from the prison site, GroundAware will continue to track humans for multiple miles, continuing to provide real-time path information to aid in tracking and recapture efforts.

GroundAware is an added layer of security that enables prison authorities to handle any-size breakout swiftly, with fewer personnel involved, drastically reducing financial costs and public relations issues to the prison and public safety concerns in the community at large.

While technology cannot solve all problems, GroundAware’s radar-based surveillance capabilities provide correctional facilities with automated situational awareness for real-time detection, tracking, deterrence, and response to ground and air intrusions. The results are previously unattainable levels of visibility, longer lead times for reaction to intrusions, and significant cost savings versus more manual approaches.

For more information on how OWL can help your correctional facility increase its physical security practices, contact us.