Missouri Prisons Going High-Tech

Fiber optics will allow institutions to have state-of-the-art computer network capability.

by / July 18, 2008

Photo: Governor Blunt

Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt announced Northeast Correctional Center (NECC) in Bowling Green and Missouri Eastern Correctional Center (MECC) in Pacific are installing the latest in fiber optics that will allow both institutions to have state-of-the-art computer network capability.

"I commend the Office of Administration and the Department of Corrections staff who have answered my call to find a more sensible way to conduct state operations at a significant cost savings to Missouri taxpayers," Blunt said. "This is just one example of strong fiscal management and common sense improvements we are making within state government."

The installation of the fiber optics system is a joint effort between Information Technology Services Division (ITSD) and the Office of Administration Maintenance (OA). The ITSD and Facilities Management Design and Construction are sharing the cost of the project.

Maintenance crews perform the installation in addition to their daily duties which include preventative maintenance, emergency casualty work and current updating of assessed maintenance issues. Approximately 36,000 feet of fiber optics cable is being installed at NECC, or roughly six miles overall.

A telecommunications vendor quoted $353,294 to complete the installation. The Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC) is doing it for $42,800, said Blunt's office in a release. Most of what is being eliminated is all of the labor that would have been paid to the telecommunications vendor. That's a savings of $310,494 for the state.

A smaller institution than NECC, MECC is installing 13,500 feet of fiber optic cable, or a total of 2.56 miles of cable, that will allow the institution to communicate and operate more efficiently. The telecommunications vendor quoted $175,939.31 for the MECC installation, according to the release. The MECC maintenance crew is installing the fiber optics for $25,511.38, for a savings of $150,427.93.

Other institutions where in-house staff installed fiber optics include Moberly Correctional Center, Boonville Correctional Center and Tipton Correctional Center. The MECC fiber optics installation is tentatively scheduled for completion by mid August followed by the NECC installation to be completed by October.