Texas prisons turn to digital fingerprints
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Oct 24, 2000
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which oversees and operates the
state's prison system, will soon get digital fingerprint scanners to log
and help identify inmates.
The department recently awarded Minnesota-based Digital Biometrics Inc.,
which develops computer-based fingerprinting systems, an $850,000 contract
to supply the department with 12 live-scan fingerprint systems and 15 card
About 38,000 inmates enter the prison system every year, said Glen Castlebury,
spokesman for the department. Instead of manually recording inmates' prints
with the ink-and-roller method, the live-scan systems will digitally record
their fingerprints immediately when they place their fingers on a plate
Castlebury said the card scanner systems would allow the state to also
make digital copies of current inmate ink records.
Once scanned, the digital fingerprint records would be instantly transmitted
to the Texas Department of Public Safety, which has a repository for such
data and other criminal information. Storing the fingerprint data in a computer
will make it easier to identify inmates when they are transferred from one
facility to another, Castlebury said.
He said the state prison system, with a 154,000-inmate population housed
in 116 units, is late in using this technology. Other local law enforcement
agencies in Texas have already been using the technology.