Former youth agency gave away security cameras but kept the pricey software

Five years ago, when a sex-abuse and cover-up scandal enveloped the Texas Youth Commission, authorities spent $18 million on cutting-edge security cameras to watch every nook and cranny in its lockups.

With five of the former youth lockups now closed in an agency consolidation, more than 1,700 of the high-tech surveillance cameras have been transferred to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to upgrade security in state prisons.

But the expensive computer gear that gave the highly touted camera system its high-tech cutting edge ??? allowing the cameras to be maneuvered and viewed remotely ??? didn’t come with the deal, officials said Tuesday.

The bottom line for taxpayers? A significant chunk of the multimillion-dollar surveillance system has been reduced to salvage value when, with better coordination between agencies, all the decommissioned cameras and related equipment could have been put to use at a higher level to protect convicts and guards.

“We only got the cameras,” confirmed Jason Clark, a spokesman for the prison system. “We’ve tested them, and they’re compatible with our systems ??? and we’re glad to have them. But we didn’t get hardware or software or anything else.”

Not sure how this headline (and whole article) is newsworthy. The youth agency still needs the software for their other facilities. They gave away the cameras that they could to another state agency. And that state agency says that the cameras work with their current system.



About Matthew Peterworth

I currently work as a Technology Specialist at Henderson Engineers in Kansas City – a Mechanical-Electrical-Plumbing (MEP) design firm. Prior to that I was a Project Manager for Information Technology Services (ITS), the central IT department at the University of Texas at Austin. As of July 2008 I am a Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD) through BICSI. And as of June 2011 I am a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) in the great state of Texas. Please follow me on Twitter @mpeterworth.

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