Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $140,000)
The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for the monitoring, safety, and well-being of on average 1495 inmates each day. Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic the average length of stay for inmates has increased due to back logs in the court systems and staffing levels have decreased. Currently Sedgwick County is 96 positions short in the Detention Bureau. In response to these factors, Sedgwick County has identified approximately 22% of the male population and 45% of the female population who do not require direct supervision.
Sedgwick County designated four housing units (3 for males and 1 for females) to house lower custody level inmates. Sedgwick County removed the direct supervision deputy from these pods and observation of inmates started being done remotely. Staff members are still required to make regular unannounced rounds in these pods and to be present for meal services and medication passes.
At the time of implementation, no additional monitoring cameras were added to these housing units. This left some blind spots throughout the pod that previously were able to be monitored by the staff member in the housing unit. Sedgwick County plans to add an additional 6 cameras to each of the four designated housing units to address these blind spots. This will allow staff monitoring the pod remotely to have a more complete field of vision and call for a response team if problems are observed.
Sedgwick County plans to install two additional cameras in the sleeping sections, two cameras in the common areas of the bathrooms, one camera in the cleaning closet, and one additional camera in the sally port entering the housing unit. By monitoring these lower custody inmates remotely the majority of the time, Sedgwick County is able to more effectively utilize the reduced number of staff members.
The cameras being installed are the compatible with the current monitoring system being used and will not require any additional training of staff. Sedgwick County is a PREA compliant detention facility and in accordance will add blackout boxes on areas within view of cameras in the common areas of the bathroom required to be obstructed to maintain personal privacy for the inmates.