Closed Circuit Television in Prison
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The research presented in this thesis aimed to apply the approach provided by situational crime prevention (SCP) to the prison environment to explore the usefulness of closed circuit television (CCTV) surveillance. SCP has rarely been applied to the prison environment and few studies have explored the effectiveness of CCTV in prison. Four overarching research questions were addressed: (1) What is the nature of CCTV surveillance in prison?, (2) 'What purposes are associated with CCTV surveillance in prison?, (3) How effective is CCTV surveillance at achieving its intended purposes?, and (4) 'What drawbacks are associated with CCTV in prison environments? Aspects of each of these overarching research questions were addressed through three studies conducted at four prisons. The first study explored the nature of CCTV surveillance in prison by examining the CCTV system and operational options that had been adopted in prison and managers attitudes regarding the purposes, effectiveness, and drawbacks of CCTV. This study was based on content analyses of legislation and procedure, information about the CCTV systems in prison, physical audits of prisons (r-4), and interviews (n6) that were conducted with managers. Findings based on content analyses of legislation and procedure indicated that CCTV was used to monitor visits, detention units, and observation units. Additional hardware that had been integrated with CCTV systems suggested that access control, fence security, and improving the safety of personnel wearing personal distress monitors were purposes of camera surveillance. Managers indicated that CCTV served a wider range of purposes (prevention, detection, improving safety, gathering evidence, and access control) but raised some doubt regarding the effectiveness of CCTV due to the way it was used. Given the doubt raised by managers regarding the efficacy of CCIV surveillance in prison, the second study explored officer and prisoner attitudes regarding the purposes, effectiveness, and drawbacks of CCTV surveillance in prison. This study was based on surveys that were conducted with officers (11=136) and prisoners (ii=193) from four prisons. The purposes and effectiveness of CCTV surveillance were examined on the basis of whether camera surveillance was believed to be targeted at officers, prisoners, or visitors. Findings indicated that officers and prisoners attached a wide range of purposes to CCTV surveillance but believed CCTV was ineffective at achieving many of these purposes for particular users of the environment. The negative or controlling aspects of CCTV surveillance were viewed as being targeted at prisoners or visitors while the beneficial effect of CCTV at improving safety was viewed as being targeted at officers. Safety and the effect that CCTV had on safety were examined using the approach provided by SCP. Findings indicated that camera surveillance had a positive impact on safety. Drawbacks that were attached by officers tended to focus on system deficiencies while prisoners emphasised the impact that camera surveillance had on privacy. The third study used archival operational data to deternthe how effective CCTV surveillance was at preventing prisoner misbehaviour at four prisons and to explore whether camera surveillance was more effective at preventing or displacing instrumental than hostile prisoner-on-prisoner assaults. Findings suggested that camera surveillance was associated with lower levels of misbehaviour. Weapon status (no/yes) and the number of perpetrators (one/more than one) were used as proxies to determine whether assaults were hostile or instrumental. A greater proportion of instrumental assaults were found to occur in locations that were not under camera surveillance, suggesting that they had either been prevented or displaced by camera surveillance. Overall, the findings suggest that the benefits of CCTV in ptison were not fully realised due to the way camera surveillance was used. Factors impacting on the effectiveness of CCIV included that a passive monitoring strategy was used, the lack of or inability to constantly monitor or record the camera system, and the existence of blind-spots. Findings also suggested that CCIV may be more useful at preventing instrumental rather than hostile assaults. Despite these findings, evidence suggested that CCTV had a positive effect on safety and prisoner misbehaviour. The implications of these findings are discussed.
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
School of Criminology and Criminal Justice