Arkansas Prisons Getting Biometrics

Arkansas Prisons Getting Biometrics

Arkansas has jumped on biometrics identification bandwagon with plans to put fingerprint scanners in their prisons, after two prisoners stole some guard uniforms and walked right out the door! Seriously… dudes stole uniforms… and walked out the door (they were caught a few days later).

Well… that’s not too hard to believe and let me tell you why: According to an old DOJ study of the prison system from back in 1999, the approximate ratio of corrections officers per inmate is 1-to-4.3. So if you have a jail with 400 inmates, you’ve got about 100 staff members to keep track of and that is not an easy task.

Biometrics is probably the way to go, but since folks in jail may not be the nicest people to deal with, the potential for spoofing biometric credentials lurks its head ugly and we’re not talking simple spoofing either but rather the gorey hypothetical scenario where the actual “original” credential(s) may be stolen/removed (remember the movie Demolition Man?). It will however lower the probability of an inside-job escape, or some other form of non-violent escape. As prison spokeswoman Dina Tyler said, “There’s always a human element”.

The state is going to spend about $500k to install fingerprint scanners, starting at the Cummins Unit, the jail where the two inmates escaped from. New hardware should be hitting the ground as early as the first few weeks of August.

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