Managing IT in Jails and Prisons

Managing IT in a jail environment can be difficult as you constantly consider the safety of employees before making any IT decision. Whether you are considering auditing hardware inside of a jail block area or simply fixing a paper jam, you must consider your own personal safety first and foremost. What is interesting is that outside contractors do not always consider the safety of anyone, including themselves. While it may slow down progress, always have contractors inventory the belongings on their person before and after leaving jail block areas. One small object can become a lethal weapon if crafted properly.

Managing IT in a jail environment? Evaluate the day, time, and scheduled events going on inside of the facility first – then evaluate the technology problem.

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James E. Evans, MISM, CSM

It is interesting to me that outside contractors would be allowed access without proper safety awareness, Maintaining a proper inventory of personal objects on the contractor’s person should also be a no brainer. Is it onus really the contractor’s to “Evaluate the day, time, and scheduled events going on inside of the facility first”?

Carol Davison

As a long time prison lay minister I used to only be allowed to take one key into the prison. No tissues, no doorlock clicker, etc. I’m surprised that this isn’t an Bureau of Prison’s SOP. You should make it one. I would even send documents to the contractor ahead of time so they can bring in the least items capable of being made into weapons. Your life may depend on it.

James E. Evans, MISM, CSM


That is the gist of it. A proactive move may be in order. Especially when quality of life may depend on it. Just my thoughts..

Brett de Boisserre

Interestingly enough, contractors should be briefed on your facility’s standard operational procedures (SOP) regarding carrying tools inside of your facility. An IT manager working in a jail or prison should be familiar with the SOP and briefed by the facility’s head of security on all changes.

Many contractors are new to the job, unfortunately, and you may be tasked with briefing them on security issues and SOPs even though you are not security personnel. Ultimately, it is the IT manager’s responsibility to “police” the contractor’s visit.

It is an interesting role to play.

Brett de Boisserre

Managing IT in a jail or prison environment constantly has challenges with computer equipment that has been specifically tailored for inmates and prisoners to utilize. Programs sponsoring teaching inmates how to craft a resume on a computer is a great idea because we all want those incarcerated to return to society ready to work. However, there will always be those incarcerated who will not treat the computer hardware very nicely – for several reasons that, often, no one will understand except the inmate or prisoner.

Nevertheless, the computer hardware must be fixed. Before fixing the computer or printer problem, take a minute to inspect the computer equipment. If the computer problem is related to a part, take a minute to find out if the part is still attached to the computer hardware or if it has been removed. For example, if a computer is suddenly in need of additional memory (RAM) to run a software program, inspect the motherboard and determine if a memory stick has been removed.

A memory stick installed in a desktop computer can sometimes be the exact same length and thickness of a butter knife. Take a minute to inspect your computer hardware.