Biometric Tech Goes to Jail in Washington

The Clark County Jail in Vancouver, Washington is getting a biometric inmate tracking system.

Biometric Tech Goes to Jail in WashingtonThe system will be based on fingerprint profiles, with inmates being scanned and registered upon admission to the jail, and scanned again upon release in order to verify their identities. (Most inmates remain in the jail less than 30 days.) Provided by vendor Executive Information Systems, it will be a locally stored and managed database specifically for the jail’s use.

The hope is that this biometric tracking system can help to prevent fiascos such as the one that occurred in May, when one inmate posed as another who was scheduled for release in order to escape. That was done by swapping clothes, ID tags, and cells, reciting the other inmate’s birthday and signing his name; swapping fingerprints would present another order of difficulty.

As KOIN 6 News notes, while numerous biometric tracking systems have been deployed at state and federal prisons, they are more rare at local jails. An official at the Clark County Jail suggested this is the first such deployment in Washington. At a cost of just $40,000 in this case, it could prove to be an appealing security solution to other such institutions in the months and years to come.

Sources: KOIN 6 News, The Columbian

July 13, 2016 – by Alex Perala