Protecting Jail Cell Cameras

A customer wants new cameras in each of the jail cells.

Axis P3364-V is the model we have priced out. The question I have is how do we cover up the back of the camera so they can not get behind it.

This is the setup now. We want to replace the old ones with the new IP models.

Has anyone ever fabbed up a back plate to protect the internals of the camera?

I was thinking we could use a conduit box.

Idea: Find a piece of pipe that fits the outside diameter of the housing, slide it around the camera, and notch it where it meets the bars/frame in the back.

Essentially you can close whatever gap exists between the camera & bars with a steel sleeve.

There is no issue with the gap between the camera and the bars.

Here is a image of the camera how it stands now.

The only requirement we have is to protect the back of the camera from "fluids and solids."

I may be missing something, but what about the Axis P3364-VE?

+1 How did I miss that.

That should do the trick!

IMHO, this is an absurd design for a high security application like prison and jail-cell CCTV.

You should consider ceiling-mount low-profile vandalproof dome cameras, with secure metal conduit boxes at each end to conceal any cable looms. The best choice could be a full-HD fish-eye dome camera.

If Axis doesn't have above solution, then look around for a best suitable cam.

The key-words are "don't settle", until you find a best fit.

They have never had a issue with someone hitting the cameras It is very hard to climb the cell. I even tried. . They are not in there for more then a few hours maybe overnight. They just want to be able to have a clear view of the detainee for complaints or other reason.

Not just that, aesthetically you want to have an impressive design which works the best. By utilizing fish-eye cams, missing a corner / action is out of equation. With a traditional design as it is now, You are likely to miss some parts of the cell.

Leaving impressive aesthetics for last, I think that this angle/FOV may be a better choice in this case. Why? Because it conveys the more visually important information in the scene. With the ceiling fisheye you gain a great deal of positional accuracy it's true. But at what cost? Remember a fish-eye, although it may be overhead, is not directly overhead everywhere, so there is still potential for obstruction of the corners. Not to mention almost total obstruction of under bunks/matresses.

The narrower angle FOV (corridor mode?), sacrifices some absolute positional information for critical body/facial details: Is the prisoner sick, is he sleeping, or concealing something? All these IMHO may be more important to CO's. As for blind spots, corner reflectors are commonly used already in such places and could be employed here in either scenario.

Also, considering what we can guess of the dimensions, a 360 is going to have a lot of wall detail, maybe a 180 would waste less pixels, and of course no one could argue against the fact that both views would give the most info.

As you note, visually important information in the scene is what the customer is trying to maximize. So let's get mental.... if you are going to hang two cameras to watch pretty much the same small(ish) space, why not make one of them a thermal camera?

Recently handled (and potentially concealed) objects should show some residual heat...

1. Sound alarm

2. Make heavy boot klumping sounds on the conrete floor, stairs, etc (at least 10 goons)

3. Pull everyone out of their cells into a common (controlled) area

4. Look at cell thermal cams via VMS and 'see' stashed contraband.

5) Release the hounds! (via VMS of course)

Two cameras...why not make one of them a thermal camera...

I have a pending question into Ross about the actual FOV's. My bet is that one of the FOV's is covering the 'short game', the other the 'long'. And we need the close-up FOV because how else can we set up a motion detection event I/O trigger to

6) Electrify the bars!

With 105 degrees to work with we do not see a issue with missing anything.

Curious, do the FOV's of the current/future cameras overlap, are they intentionally redundant?

The jail cells I've seen (professionally, of course) typically have solid concrete ceilings and walls, so getting to a spot good for a centered 360 would be really tough.

Looks to me that the Vandal-proof cameras should be ceiling-mounted close against the bars, with steel pipe (not EMT!) coming thru the bars to run cables against the walkway ceiling. And no custom-fab brackets or covers. You'll also benefit from a more flexible gimble the get the view you want.

Honestly, I'd give this design one weekend with meth'd up detainee. Too much to grab ahold of here!


Could you expand a little on why you chose that model of camera - and the installation method you chose - beyond it being the model 'that you priced out'?

Aesthetically, I can't really say I like it - but operational concerns trump good looks in many applications.

Were there physical restrictions that ruled out a ceiling mount as suggested by Sharvil? I'm just curious - I never install anything ITRW. :)

one example I was thinking of:

Why not install the cameras outside the cell looking in? Then the meth'ed up dude raging in the cage can't touch it at all.

the exsiting design has lasted 34 years without a issue.

They have cameras mounted outside but they can not have a obstructed view of the person inside.

Maybe the meth in my jurisdiction is just better stuff!

Have you looked at the Vicon Cell camera as an option?

I second this. The corner mount ones are always preferred (at least in the US) because it doesn't allow anyone to grab at any part of it/hang off of it until it drops off the wall. Also, suicide attempts are sometimes a concern (more so in prisons or hospital psych wards) but giving someone something to hitch their makeshift noose to is generally avoided.'

Bosch used to make some back in the analog days as well. They may make IP models now.

Bosch does make IP models. They make a "1.5" megapixel version (1440x1080) as well as standard def models. I'm not sure when the megapixel model came out; I just happened across it as I was looking for something else.

Vicon has announced a 1080p HD version of their jail cell camera. Previously, it was SD only. The HD version is scheduled for general release September 2014.

In Canadian federal prisons, we use both the Vicon and the Bosch corner cameras as they provide complete room coverage from a single camera. They also include integrated IR illumination so they provide 24/7 coverage. The cameras are vandal resistant, however they end up being washed regularly to remove "other" things blocking the lens. We have a privacy related feature we have to add which is an LED to indicate that the camera is being observed by a correctional officer. The cameras are recorded 24/7 even when not being live viewed.

Canadian inmates are very polite. :)

I am not sure if the LED is a must for us but sure is a nice feature.

I have to agree with others about the suitability of domes versus other more vandal-resistant form factors. In my experience, the dome bubble is the weakest point of the structure and can be fairly easily broken, revealing the camera's innards.