The facility began experiencing serious overcrowding and operated well beyond capacity; compromising the security of the facility and the safety of the staff and inmates. The resolution came in the form of a new housing /reintegration building constructed on State-owned property outside the walls of the Graterford Penitentiary. The new 2-story, freestanding, masonry building accommodates approximately 192 minimum-security inmates with 4 dormitories, housing 20 inmates per dormitory; two inmates to a cell. The facility includes dayrooms, indoor recreation, offices, support and program areas. It is contained within a 14 foot-high security fence with closed-circuit TV monitoring. The fence is chain linked with one coil of razor ribbon on top and one 16-foot electronically controlled gate (totaling 660 linear feet).
This project also included the design of an extensive perimeter intrusion/detection system mounted on the perimeter wall of the existing Penitentiary. The security system is a two-layered “fence” with the first being a taut-wire perimeter intrusion system mounted 6 feet below the top of the 30-foot high concrete wall. The second system is an infrared (motion-activated) perimeter intrusion system, mounted on the inside of the wall. Improved site lighting also enhances the images that are viewed through the closed-circuit TV system, located within the existing Central Control Room. The new system results in more efficient staffing levels which will, in the long term, offset the initial capital expenditure.