Challenges Faced By Prison Authorities When It Comes To Securing Perimeter Barriers


A Prison is only as secure as its perimeter barrier (wall & fence).

Prison authorities always find it challenging to secure perimeter barriers, an important component of physical security.

Creating a high-security environment in accordance with international humanitarian laws, presents a significant challenge for correctional facilities globally.

The United Nations emphasizes “In designing the physical aspects of security, a balance needs to be found between the best way of achieving the required security level and the need to respect the dignity of the individual. Recent years have seen a significant increase in the number of attacks on the external perimeter of prisons in attempts to liberate high-security prisoners. These attacks have been mounted by terrorist groups, drug cartels and criminal gangs. Prisons should take a number of actions to prepare for such an attack.(Source : Handbook on Dynamic Security and Prison Intelligence, United Nations Office on Drug and Crime)

In prison breaks these are some of the possible threats to prison perimeters:

  • Digging/hammering through the prison wall
  • Underground Tunnelling through the prison wall
  • Climbing over the wall
  • Cutting the fence
  • Lifting the fence fabric, and
  • Cutting & escaping through the drainage.

Below are some of the images of alerts generated on a Graphical User Interface (GUI) for various types of intrusions:

Physical barriers like walls, fences, gates, turnstiles, boom barriers and surveillance systems like CCTV, Perimeter Intrusion Detection Systems (PIDS), watchtowers, guard posts, tracking systems can provide primary layers.

The key to strengthening the first layer of security is to design and build strong and sensitive perimeter fences and installing Perimeter Intrusion Detection Systems (PIDS) with the 4 pillars to deter, detect, document & deny/delay any possible intrusion.

The following key elements are essential to maintaining optimal perimeter security:

1. Fence (either wall mounted or from ground level) – Strong and in good condition, cleared of vegetation on either side for clear surveillance.

2. PIDS – Systems with high Probability of Detection (POD) and a low Nuisance Alarm Rate (NAR).
3. PIDS-CCTV – PIDS integrated with CCTV/VMS so cameras move in response to detected intrusion.

In addition, the fence should have vegetation cleared from both sides for best possible surveillance and seamless monitoring through integrated CCTV layer and PIDS layer.

Configuring these systems to deliver optimum sensitivity by minimizing nuisance alarms and maximizing the detection of actual intrusion events is an essential and challenging task.

Typically, increased in sensitivity are accompanied by increases in NAR. Nuisance alarms, as the name suggests, are falsely triggered in the absence of intrusions.

These nuisance alarms are caused by environmental circumstances like wind and rain. Frequent nuisance alarms are both inconvenient and expensive to respond to and erode all confidence security staff have in the effectiveness and value of the intrusion detection system installed.

Therefore, there is a high demand for reliable PIDS systems to guide effective response to intrusion events.

Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) incorporating neural networks and advanced multi-parameter signal processing offer a way to circumvent this problem.

Future Fibre Technologies (FFT), world leaders in perimeter security, provide the next generation of advanced and proven fiber optic-based PIDS which have been successfully deployed for buried and fence mounted applications on all types of fences.

FFT’s PIDS solutions use the 3D Framework to enhance physical security in Prisons.

  • Detect
  • Define
  • Detain

Intelligent, inbuilt AI eliminates nuisance alarms without compromising detection capability during real intrusion events.

FFT Aura AI-2 is an advanced end-to-end solution for securing fences in prisons, working from detection to location to response. With two channels, Aura AI-2, offers simultaneous real-time detection with 2,000 measurement points per kms. Also, no power or electronics is required in the field.

FFT also provides solutions for Drainage Intrusion Detection

During monsoons, some of the water gets collected inside the prison and some water flows from inside the prison to the outside, via drains. The point where the drains exit through the walls is covered by an iron grill. The purpose of the drain grill is to allow water to flow through while stopping debris or a big animal or a human from passing through them.

The Drain Intrusion Detection System (DIDS) generates an alert if the hollow grill breaks / is cut.

The DIDS solution does not generate an alert for water passing through the drain grill or debris hitting the grill. However, it does raise an alarm if the drain grill is cut or dis-lodged (intrusion ingress/egress attempted)

When integrated with a Video Management System (VMS) or Control and Command, DIDS issues an alert to the VMS/C2C, which instantaneously moves a PTZ Camera in the closest proximity to the pre-set of the drain.

Cross Sectional View of Stainless-Steel Hollow Grill

FFT Aura AI-2 provides fence and buried perimeter intrusion detection, while FFT Secure Point offers solutions for Drainage Intrusion Detection.

Want to find out more about how FFTs  intrusion detection solutions can help secure your prison? 

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