by Computerworld Australia

The NSW Department of Corrective Services will implement mandatory iris scanning and fingerprinting across its 32 prisons to help verify visitor identities.

Biometric verification will be centralised for 14 prisons over the next 18 months under a $1.5 million project. The technology has been used for about a decade to assist with visitor identity validation.

Director of asset management Peter Hay said biometrics is required to accurately identify visitors.

“Our long term plan is to bring all the facilities under… a single point of biometric truth,” Hay said.

“[Biometrics] is the only way to best verify identities.”

Visitors to state prisons including maximum security goals Long Bay and Silverwater Womens must verify their identities against iris scanners and fingerprint machines on entry.

Computerworld understands identity verification in the prison system is limited without the use of biometrics.

The department will also install kiosks to allow inmates to check serving time and account information, and plans to integrate the biometric validation system with its inmate management systems and external state law enforcement agency databases like Crimtrac by mid next year.

Hay said the department has overcome initial collaboration difficulties across the state prisons.

The project is jointly managed by Sagem, LG, Biometric Innovations, and Argus Solutions.

The department has 6500 staff and manages some $2 billion in assets and about 10,000 inmates.