How RFID technology can help corrections facilities

Other tracking mechanisms exist — such as biometric scanning — but a radio frequency identification system takes less of a bite out of jail facility budgets


In a correctional facility, keeping each inmate safe and secure requires the population be locked up, typically segregated and often times isolated. Realistically, how is correctional staff supposed to account for each and every inmate’s movement 24 hours a day while each is secured, segregated, or potentially housed in a rack-down unit in a one-man cell?

Recent technological tools have been implemented inside several correctional facilities across the United States which has made the tracking of an inmate population significantly easier. The evolved technology of radio frequency identification bracelets has made correctional facility inmate headcounts and movement tracking substantially more accurate and efficient for correctional staff. 

Other tracking mechanisms exist — such as biometric scanning — but a radio frequency identification system takes less of a bite out of jail facility budgets, especially when applied to the larger population facilities.

Increasing Probationary Sentencing
In this climate of increasing probationary sentencing and reduced sentences in minimum security settings and out of custody work programs, radio frequency identification (RIFD) tracking systems make absolute sense with a cost-effective price tag.

Many minimum security facilities do not have perimeter fencing, leaving the ability for inmates to illegally walk away if they so choose. Inmates on a RIFD tracking system wear either a wrist band or ankle band which will send a notification alarm signal back to a monitoring computer should they walk outside of the radio frequency perimeter line. If the system is equipped, Correctional staff can be fitted with pager-like devices to wear which will notify them if an inmate breaks the perimeter radio frequency boundary even if they are in another area of the facility.

RIFD systems can potentially reduce inmate on inmate violence and retaliation within a jail setting. RIFD’s can cut down on wandering inmates who may roam the jail facility entering housing units or prohibited areas where they are not authorized. It would be especially useful in keeping specific inmates separate during unit moves or inmate transportation details. If the system is designed to, it has the ability to identify and illustrate where all restricted parties are at simply the push of a button

A Secure System
RIFDs can be designed to use inmate bracelets which are encoded with a unique number assignment specific to each individual inmate. The encoded chip number coordinates with the correctional facilities booking system data record. Bracelets can also be created with bar codes that correlate with an inmates’ medication order, law library book check out or commissary order. The encoded RIFD bracelet data can be retained and regenerated for reports which reflect a tracking history of an inmate’s location at a specific time. 

The report can specify if an inmate has eaten a particular meal and how many minutes they spent at various locations throughout the jail facility. Tracking is recorded through scanning the coded bracelet during events such as headcounts, meals or before entering different facilities for meetings or upon housing into a unit. Some RIFD systems offer a two second update on inmate locations. RIFD systems can even pinpoint inmate location down to a particular cell number within a unit in large housing unit.

For probationary inmates or work release inmates RIFD systems can be programmed to sound should an inmate wearing the bracelet or anklet fail to report to a scheduled location. For example, if an inmate is required to attend classes at a specific location at a specified time and date, an alarm will sound if the inmate failed to report as directed. http://www.zdnet.com/article/rfid-to-track-act-prisoners/.

Once upon a time, correctional officers had to manually log each inmate’s activity into a paper log. This ultimately resulted in a faulty, time consuming, and inaccurate practice. Technology has advanced the industry to a place where tools such as RIFD bracelets can provide correctional staff a user friendly, efficient system for collecting, measuring, tracking and storing inmate movement data. An RIFD system could prove to be an extremely secure, time-saving and cost effective means of managing both the in and out of custody inmate populations.

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