UK prisons implementing biometrics for safe prisoner self-service

Digital transformation including biometrics is coming to UK prisons to create a better environment with improved safety and greater access to services, UKAuthority reports.

HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) Director of Business Change Gary Monaghan spoke about the gradual implementation of Digital Prisons at the recent Smart Wales and Connected Cymru conference.

“As our service was going through a challenging time in terms of operational stability it was imperative that Digital Prisons was really focused on safety in prisons,” Monaghan told the conference, as reported by UKAuthority. “We did research and decided one of the things we could do was introduce prisoner self-service, researched the market and selected Unilink as the supplier.”

The system supplied by Unilink includes biometrics in accordance with Home Office standards. Meals ordered ahead of time with biometric verification of the person ordering could prevent prisoners from taking meals ordered by others, which Monaghan says has often been a flashpoint. Other self-service applications for prisoners enabled by biometrics could include ordering small items from prison shops, and managing personal account information.

Biometrics could also be used instead of legacy application processes for controlling access to services, and HMPPS is looking into integrating the biometric capabilities of Unilink’s system with police biometric systems.

The UK Government Digital Service is also considering ways to leverage biometrics to aid in the delivery of government services to the general public.

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