Prisons begin using body cameras, to fill in the blanks

State News

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)- Starting Monday the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction is launching a pilot program, using body cameras in Ohio prisons.

The Ohio State Penitentiary and Chillicothe Correctional Institution started the program on Monday. Cameras will also be introduced in two Adult Parole Authority regions.

Chazidy Bowman’s husband is currently serving a nine-year prison sentence, she said she’s been fighting for body cameras behind bars for two years. She describes some of the treatment she hears about as inhumane.

“The main concern I had was it wasn’t right and nobody outside the prison, unless you were affected by it knew about it… That’s how it came about, we need body cameras, and we need them now,” said Bowman.

Ohio’s prisons have thousands of cameras, and Director of DRC Annette Chambers-Smith said they do miss things.

“From time to time, I want to see something that’s happening in an incident and that’s a blind spot or that’s not on a camera angle and I think this would help us not have those situations,” said Director Chambers-Smith.

Director Smith said this footage will benefit correction officers and the people who are incarcerated.

“It’s like an uninvolved bystander that gives us true and accurate information about what went on,” said Chambers-Smith

“This gives us insight on how the process is working. Do I think it’s full proof? No but it’s a beginning and it’s a start and we have to start somewhere,” said Bowman.

The pilot program does not have any cost for the DRC but if it’s fully implemented the estimated cost will be 17 million dollars for the first year.

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