I Iove me a good conference. And the American Jail Association's 29th Annual Training Conference and Jail Expo (going on now at the convention center) has the fixings of a good one. Conference attendees are from 44 states, the District of Columbia, several tribal nations and Singapore and Bermuda. There's a vague yet inspiring theme ("Building Bridges over the Rivers of Change"), swag, and of course: a money shower.
Oregon spends more dollars on corrections than on higher education, so I thought I'd see where all the money went. Turns out, there are a lot of different gizmos you can buy for your prison, at very, very high cost.
We'll start with the classic problem: you need furniture for your prison that can't be taken apart. The parts could be used as weapons or hiding spaces, or flushed down the toilet (see upcoming product). Norix Intensive Use Furniture has chairs, beds, even 5-seater-individual-stool picnic tables with checkerboards on top, that are solid and surprisingly comfortable solutions. You can get a $400 desk, a $600 lounge table—really not unreasonable for furniture that needs to be indestructible by creative means, easy to clean, and comfortable(ish).
There are more exciting, unique, and expensive things after the jump.Strike industries have been working since 1995 on video visitation infrastructure. Prison visits require staff to escort prisoners from one part of a facility to another, or bring visitors such as family members, clergy or lawyers into the facility. Video visitation allows jail managers to set up a visitation station where the prisoners already are, at a cost of $3000-$7000 a unit. Strike VP Michael Black recommends 1 unit per 20 inmates. The inmates can then talk to their visitors, who are located at another facility where there are also visitation kiosks set up (no, not through Skype at home... that would be cool, though.) The calls can be recorded, if inmates and visitors are informed, and Black estimated that 60 percent of clients did record at least a portion of the calls made through their visitation infrastructure.