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Biometric prison management: Technology of the future?

By Evan Wagstaff

A new biometric system touts iris and fingerprint biometric technology, manages electronic key cabinets, secures airlock portals, catalogues inmate property storage, monitors visitor appointments, conducts criminal record checks, integrates key access policies and more. The Corrections Biometric Management System (CBMS) is tailored to the demanding requirements of a corrections environment and has already been implemented in 25 correctional facilities.

Although the system is loaded with features, it is designed to operate intuitively. David Smith, the project’s director of engineering, said that the system simplifies many operational procedures involved in running a correctional facility while improving security, efficiency, and logged intelligence.

“It fully automates pretty much any rule you can think about for a correctional center depending on the person,” Smith said.

Because an integrated system can do things that humans alone cannot, like instantaneously upload data to a server and cross-reference against other records, the CBMS can identify patterns and detect suspicious behavior that otherwise would have gone unnoticed.

“It can find patterns if, say, a visitor at correctional center one … goes to visit correctional center three, they would be identified even if they used false identification,” Smith said. “If they’re running information between gangs, that information would be identified.”

But what about the cost?
Addressing concerns that such a comprehensive system would be beyond the means of most facilities that are already strapped for funds, Smith said he believes the system can pay itself off in 12 to 18 months in increased efficiency and incident control.

“It’s affordable because you can reduce the staffing requirements, increase the efficiency within the correctional center, and, if one person escapes because intelligence wasn’t done properly or security systems failed, that cost would far outweigh the cost of this biometric management system.”

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