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Tracking Prisoners in Jail With Biometrics: An Experiment in a Navy Brig

NCJ Number
National Institute of Justice Journal Issue: 253 Dated: January 2006 Pages: 6-9
Date Published
January 2006
4 pages
Publication Series
This article describes the results of a pilot program designed to evaluate the efficacy of using biometrics to track inmates within a correctional facility.
The Biometric Inmate Tracking System (BITS) was found to have both advantages and disadvantages for tracking individuals on a Navy brig. Evaluation results indicated that finger and hand geometry were the most accurate methods tested on the brig while voice recognition was the least effective. The finger and hand geometry method was also about one-third of the cost of iris, facial, and retinal methods. The demonstration program, a joint effort of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the United States Navy, and the United States Department of Defense, was designed to improve how inmate movements are tracked within prisons and jails. Computer-based methods of tracking inmates were employed to improve efficiency and demonstrate the capacity of technology to improve correctional facility safety. BITS was implemented on a Charleston brig and tested all biometric methods (iris, facial, retinal, finger and hand geometry, voice, and fingerprint) over a 3-year period. In addition to describing the evaluation results, the article briefly explains how the system was put into place and discusses enhancements planned for the years ahead, which include the development of the technology, software, and methods to use biometrics in any prison or jail in the United States. The article contains a textbox explaining biometrics. Notes

Date Published: January 1, 2006