Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $761,000)
New Jersey Department of Corrections Body-Worn Camera Expansion Project
The New Jersey Department of Corrections (NJDOC) continues to be in the forefront of Body-Worn Camera (BWC) initiatives for corrections. As an FY19 grantee under this program, the Department has made significant inroads through our pilot project at two of our more notable institutions. NJDOC is continually committed and remains dedicated to ensuring the safety, security, and humane treatment of its incarcerated offenders, as well as, strengthening its correctional culture in today’s environment. The Department has developed BWC-focused policy and procedures, purchased its initial BWCs, and implemented its pilot in two high-risk correctional facilities. Now that we are well into our phased pilot program, NJDOC is looking towards expanding BWCs as a state-wide initiative per mandated legislation.
NJDOC’s expansion project design and comprehensive implementation of 761 BWCs across three new project sites: our Correctional Staff Training Academy (CSTA), Garden State Youth Correctional Facility (GSCF), and South Woods State Prison (SWSP), our largest facility with our only Extended Care unit, seeks to build transparency through video footage review in order to ensure all violations are well-documented. Through this expansion, Departmental Leadership will continue to reinforce the need for violations to be addressed appropriately and in an efficient manner. NJDOC has already developed BWC policies as a result of the FY19 pilot project and policies will be reviewed and updated based upon differences in facilities under this expansion project.
BWC deployment will be implemented in three stages across the designated project sites: First, 322 BWCs at GSCF, second, 409 at SWSP, and thirty, 30 at CSTA. The project will incorporate the development of an all-inclusive training program to ensure consistent, proper BWC use and policy adherence from Recruits to long-time officers. Implementation will involve Pre-Deployment preparation, Year 1- BWC Deployment, and Years 2 & 3- Refresher/Update trainings. Post deployment, the Department will pursue essential feedback, review the established BWC policies, and track incidents, while maintaining stakeholder relationships in consistency with the pilot project approach. NJDOC hopes this expansion, per our required mandate, will help the Department ingrain BWCs as a reliable tool to build more oversight, accountability, and transparency throughout our entire state correctional system.