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As one of the world’s largest police forces, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) is using the latest in digital media and broadband technologies from Hughes to bring innovative communication and education programs to its law enforcement work environments and to inmates in correctional institutions.
Rather than simply “warehousing” inmates and returning them to the community, LASD is providing them with educational, vocational, and life-skills training through an innovative approach called Education-Based Incarceration (EBI). EBI focuses on equipping inmates with the skills they need to avoid criminal acts and live productive lives outside of custody.
Under the Offender Services Bureau, EBI coordinates with the Inmate Programs Unit and the Community Transition Unit to enhance programs throughout the jails. A combination of traditional classroom settings, self-study materials, and instructive videos are employed, exposing inmates to educational opportunities at every point during their incarceration. The programs offered through the Offender Services Bureau include a roster of vocational courses including masonry, painting, commercial embroidery, graphic arts, and landscaping.
To further its educational program, the Sheriff’s Department is expanding its use of Hughes Media Signage digital technology throughout its nine jail facilities, which house nearly 18,000 inmates. The all-in-one digital communications system delivers a unique combination of digital messaging, on-demand training, and internal communications. As part of the EBI program, the LASD is increasing its deployment throughout housing pods and high-traffic areas in the jails, providing both educational and informational content to keep inmates learning, motivated, and engaged.
“Education is integral to preparing our inmates for their transition back into the community,” said Sheriff Leroy D. Baca. “The digital signage system enables us to deliver engaging and educational content that helps inmates learn new skills so they can improve their chances for success when they are released from jail.”
The Inmate Reception Center of the LASD Correctional Services Division is also taking advantage of the Hughes digital system’s multi-language capability in its booking area to communicate with detainees who do not speak English. The digital screens present consistent, step-by-step instructions in the inmate’s language to complete the intake process.
The digital system is also helping LASD maintain risk management and meet legal requirements. This includes training officers about regulations, as well as keeping employees aware of the length of time inmates have been detained in time-limited processing areas. In addition, the LASD is using the system to notify inmates who are foreign nationals how to contact their consulates according to legal requirements.
Living up to its history of staying on the cutting edge of technology, the LASD began using its Hughes digital signage system in 2009 as a department-wide employee Digital Briefing Board. The system enabled the LASD to meet the challenge of disseminating an enormous volume of unified messages to its widely dispersed workforce at dozens of sheriff’s stations, jails, and courthouses.
One of the first of its kind to be deployed by a U.S. law enforcement agency, the state-ofthe-art digital system conveys command information instantly, provides on-demand training for a staff that’s constantly on the move, and distributes news and announcements on a variety of routine and urgent issues. In total, the LASD is using more than 120 screens throughout the Department, including those for employees and inmates.
Never content with the status quo, the LASD is implementing its plans to further benefit from the digital system’s functionality by deploying additional screens throughout the Department and incorporating point-to-point, multi-screen videoconferencing with live distribution to employee work areas Department-wide.
Meanwhile, through its innovative EBI program, the LASD is offering an increasing number of inmates new opportunities to change the direction of their lives—an important project that Hughes is very proud to be part of.