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Tasked with ensuring inmate and staff safety, departments of correction also prepare convicted criminals for their eventual release. As facilities adapt to address these concerns, new technologies, performance infrastructure improvements and partnerships are playing key roles in their success.

 

GETTING STARTED: APPROACHING AND FUNDING SMART IMPROVEMENTS IN CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES

Ask corrections officers about the mission of their department and they’ll most likely tell you it’s the security of inmates and staff, followed closely by efforts to reduce recidivism, the tendency of convicted criminals to re-offend shortly after release. To address recidivism, the state of Virginia adopted the Green Heating HVAC Vocational Program. This innovative solution from Johnson Controls provides inmates with technician training taught by experienced instructors in learning labs equipped with HVAC equipment and controls.

 

Correctional facilities are also taking advantage of emerging technologies to improve perimeter lighting and fencing and enable the interception of illegal phone calls and drone activity. Additionally, radio frequency identification (RFID) technology can track prisoner movements and alert staff to unusual concentrations of people in specific areas. Johnson Controls enhances technologies like these with one of the most comprehensive security portfolios available, a result of the company’s merger with Tyco.

 

To fund these technologies and infrastructure improvements, corrections departments typically rely on an appropriations process that derives funding from tax dollars. Often, these resources cannot keep pace with demands for improvements, forcing state governments and their corrections departments to embrace alternate funding mechanisms. This means turning to partners like Johnson Controls, whose first job is to identify challenges and assist with planning and prioritizing short- and long-term goals.

 

The company also offers innovative financing options, including public-private partnerships (P3) and energy performance contracts (EPC), which use energy and operational savings over a set period of time to fund improvements. Projects are designed so annual energy and operational savings exceed or equate to the required payments over the term of the contract. This leaves a net neutral impact on the state or department budget—a real positive in the current fiscal climate.

 

Alternative funding mechanisms are assuming ever-increasing roles in the implementation of programs that improve security, conserve energy, increase efficiencies and reduce recidivism. As they provide benefits to corrections departments, they also impact surrounding communities in positive ways—enhancing public safety, reducing financial risk and freeing capital for other improvement projects throughout the state.

Phillip Lowery Director Image
Phillip Lowery, Director, State Government

As national director of state government, Phillip is responsible for growing the state government market for SSNA, including General Services, the Department of Transportation and Department of Corrections. Phillip earned an MBA from Texas Tech University, an MS degree from Clemson University, and a BA degree from the University of North Carolina.

Contact us at 888-885-9612, and look forward to safer, more efficient facilities that offer inmates critical training skills.

johnsoncontrols.com/stategov

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