Lehigh County Prison

Nov 13, 2013 | Case Studies

Lehigh County Prison is a direct supervision, maximum-security facility located in Center City Allentown. The facility has a capacity of about 1,350, housing inmates prior to their adjudication in the court system and while serving sentences on county charges. The prison also detains prisoners for the Federal Government.

The Challenge

Naturally, security is priority No. 1 at Lehigh County Prison – making efficient, effective and modern systems an absolute necessity. But with limited budgets and zero tolerance for system downtime, staying on the cutting edge of security technology can be a difficult proposition.

The CSI Solution

CSI provided several security and communications services to Lehigh County Prison.Fortunately, Lehigh County Prison found a reliable solution to its security needs: CSI. The Allentown firm has worked with the prison for more than a decade to install and maintain cost-effective and integrated security systems, ensuring the safety of prison employees and inmates, as well as members of the surrounding community.

CSI first worked with Lehigh County Prison to install fire alarm and intercom systems, both of which it still maintains and supports. The prison also enlisted CSI’s assistance in upgrading controls for all cell and hallway doors in the facility. A different vendor was not able to complete the door control project satisfactorily; CSI provided Lehigh County Prison with significant upgrades to the system.

CSI was then tasked with performing a major upgrade to the prison’s video surveillance system. Before the job began in 1999, the facility had 30 cameras. It now contains 130, all of which are supported and maintained by CSI.

In 2007, the prison again called on CSI. This time, it needed to upgrade its master control panel system in order to replace an aging analog micro switch setup. The task was large, requiring a complete rewiring and reconfiguring of the prison’s floor controls and central control system. But CSI was able to accomplish it on schedule and on budget, and continues to provide annual maintenance services to ensure the new system is functioning correctly.

Most recently, CSI replaced Lehigh County Prison’s legacy VHS recording capabilities with a fully integrated, digital video system. Now, prison staff monitors and stores all data on hard drives, making it far more efficient to find, review and disseminate clips to other staff members.

“In terms of service, installation and analysis, CSI is on the cutting edge of digital electronics,” Lehigh County Warden Dale Meisel said.

The improved video capabilities integrate directly with Lehigh County Prison’s security systems and processes, allowing staff to quickly pinpoint the location and severity of incidents, thus halting potentially dangerous situations before they escalate. The result is a stronger sense of safety and security for everyone in the prison community – both inside and outside facility walls.

“Having worked with us from Day 1, CSI has intimate knowledge of the prison and its systems,” Meisel said. “CSI is the most qualified, most experienced and most knowledgeable vendor that we’ve ever encountered.”



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