Body-Worn Cameras in Community Supervision

Body-Worn Cameras in Community Supervision


American Probation and Parole Association (2020)


The Technology Committee


Video technology has been an important public safety tool for decades. From the earliest closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems in correctional facilities to in-dash cameras in police vehicles, video technology has been used to deter criminal behavior, document encounters or behaviors of interest, and to investigate and solve crimes. The current iteration of video technology in public safety is body-worn cameras (BWC). The use of BWCs dates back to 2005 when small-scale tests were conducted in police departments in the United Kingdom (Goodall, 2007). In the United States, law enforcement has been the earliest adopter within the criminal justice system. By 2016, 60% of police departments and 49% of sheriff’s offices had fully deployed BWCs (Hyland, 2018). Recently, a number of correctional institutions (primarily jails) started outfitting their officers with BWCs and, not surprisingly, community supervision agencies are beginning to explore the potential benefits of this technology. This issue paper will provide background information about BWCs, potential uses within a community supervision context, issues agencies should consider before implementation, and policy development guidance.

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