As the increasing of crime rate, jail or prison management is playing a significant role in public safety. With hundred thousands of incarcerated offenders in one place, it is both a critical and constant challenge to keep track of inmates, especially as they move from one part of the facility to another throughout the day. Over-populated, improper managed and under-staffed jails may cause serious problems for prisoners who might engage in illegal activities while being out-of-sight for example: unauthorized inmates may be released due to human error or swapped ID bracelets among inmates. Assaults and even murders have been committed by inmates as they moved from one part of a prison or jail to another.
Biometrics has been widely used for prison management in many parts of the world such as: North America, Europe, Asia, etc. in order to have a more efficient inmate monitoring system. One of the initial implements is the Biometric Inmate Tracking System (BITS) project by the U.S. National Institute of Justice. The project was implemented to transform the existing manual system into a biometric computer-based system at the U.S. Naval Consolidated Brig in Charleston, South Carolina in early of the 2000s. Biometric scanners were placed at security posts throughout the jail. Whenever prisoner wants to leave or enter from one to another area, he or she must have their biometric data authenticated. The system then stores inmate’s movement data, brig staff could access the data from each housing unit, the control center, and enrollment area. No escort or paper record is necessary because the computer records all prisoner movements between security posts at different parts of the brig. If a prisoner fails to show up within a specified time, an alarm is sounded and the staff is alerted that a prisoner is out of place.
Among the biometric modalities, fingerprint recognition has had a broader use for its low-cost and user familiarity. However, as the development of iris technology, it’s making fingerprint a thing of the past. Quick processing time, most accurate modality ranked only after DNA, totally contactless system compared to fingerprint. Recently, according to Biometricupdate.com, approximately 100 U.S. police departments, sheriffs and prison systems using iris recognition identification technology for inmates, which includes the Maine Department of Corrections and the jail systems in Washington, D.C., Atlanta and the most lately, the Anoka County jail. Anoka County jail Cmdr. Dave Pacholl said that: “It’s a quicker and extremely accurate version of a fingerprint check.” He also added that the iris recognition system takes just a few seconds to compare and match iris images, while the fingerprint ID system can take 5 to 15 minutes.
Iris biometrics has proved to be the technology of the future in the prison management. An iris biometric system can be used with many functions such as: tracking inmates within jails, authenticating identities while entering certain areas, verifying identity prior to release, checking visitor identity prior to contact with inmates and prior to leave, etc. The system helps to improve the efficiency of correction specialists and other brig officials, frees them from handling paper passes, which overall tightens the jail security and safety.