By Mike Colgan

KCBS_740 SAN JOSE (KCBS) — Newly-installed cameras in the Santa Clara County Jail are already paying off for the county.

From the main pods where the inmates spend their days, to the sport courts where they exercise, all angles at the county’s main jail are now covered by cameras.

The cameras were put in after several highly-publicized incidents including the murder of an inmate, allegedly by guards.

Since installing 270 new cameras over the last four months, they’ve helped identify inmate assault suspects, aided in the discovery of a hidden deadly weapon, and proved an inmate made false allegations of brutality against a correctional officer.

“We firmly believe that these cameras are worth their weight in gold if not more,” Assistant Sheriff Carl Neusel said.

The sheriff paid for the cameras herself after learning it could take two years and $20 million to wait for the county.

Increasing surveillance of inmates and deputies is one of the reforms ordered by a blue-ribbon commission.

Deputies say the new cameras have not changed inmate behavior, but is maybe changing the culture of the correctional staff.

“These cameras are just an additional layer of transparency to show the community that we’re not afraid to videotape our deputies as they work,” Neusel said.

 

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