Digital fingerprints track inmates in Texas prisons
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Dec 03, 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-scanner
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 when they place their fingers on a glass 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 adopting this technology. Other local law enforcement
agencies in Texas already use it.