The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) is considering the use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) at two prison facilities in Warren County.
The Wardens of the Lebanon and Warren Correctional Institutions held a community stakeholder meeting to discuss the plan. If approved to proceed, a testing phase will begin in late August/early September with an Aerostat, a tethered, helium device equipped with cameras and infrared abilities.
“The safety of the community and security of our prisons is our number-one priority,” says Gary Mohr, the DRC director. “We are conducting an operational assessment to determine if investing in this technology will enhance existing security measures in place at these facilities.”
UAS technology could add an additional layer of security to help maintain the safety of the surrounding community and the prisons by bolstering existing perimeter security, preventing and detecting attempts of contraband entering the prison, and enhancing the monitoring of inmates who are approved to work outside the secure perimeter of the prison, the department says.
The DRC will accept questions and concerns from community stakeholders for a 30-day period, through Aug. 9. DRC will evaluate any responses received for an additional 15-day period prior to making the decision to begin a testing phase.
The DRC is developing a plan to ensure the privacy of those stakeholders surrounding the prisons is not breached by the potential use of UAS technology.
In June, a UAS delivered drugs to inmates in an outdoor yard at a prison in Dublin, Ireland, before staff could intervene.