ICE, DHS S&T seek biometric monitoring tech for detainees at federal facilities

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) respectively are looking for GPS/biometric monitors for undocumented immigrants and federal detainees.

Under ICE’s Request for Proposals for the Intensive Supervision Appearance Program (ISAP IV), the agency is seeking “a compliance program that uses technology and case management” to ensure participants comply with release conditions, court appearances, and final orders of removal while allowing aliens to remain in their community.

DHS S&T, meanwhile, is looking for a GPS/biometric monitor technology that will provide the capability to track and monitor detained personnel at federal facilities.

Called the Electronic Monitoring System, ICE said it will “provide redundant processors with memory shadowing (backup system designed to take over immediately without delay), high reliability, and minimal downtime.”

According to ICE, “Adults 18 years of age or older may be eligible for placement into the Alternative to Detention (ATD) program if they are not subject to mandatory detention and are currently in some stage of removal proceedings.”

Under the full and open competition Request for Proposals for ISAP IV, the successful contractor is required to “provide community-based supervision, in-person reporting, telephonic reporting, GPS monitoring [and] biometric technology monitoring services across the nation. The organization, design, and administration of the program shall comply with all applicable federal, state, and local licensing provisions, as well as government requirements as put forth in the requirements documents.”

The biometric reporting system component is described as a “mobile platform application” that will provide “for various forms of check-in, including facial recognition, as well as established reporting frequencies that include specific day of the week during a two-hour block of time 24 hours a day; and, a monthly reporting capability for specific day of the week/specific day of the month during a two-hour block of time 24 hours a day.

The Biometric Reporting System must also provide for random check-ins as requested by the local ICE Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) and the ADT Monitoring Officers (AMO) of the Alternatives to Detention Unit within the Custody Management Unit (CMU) of ERO, with a reporting system that captures and uploads the coordinates and address of the participant at the time of check-in.

In addition to biometric check-in, the mobile platform “shall allow participants to communicate with the contractor or ERO and the contractor or ERO can message the participant. The participant can request assistance as needed, upload photos of documents, request community-based services, confirm appointments, confirm and update contractor on court proceedings.”

The CMU is the unit responsible for developing and implementing programs that improve immigration court appearance rates, court order compliance rates, and removal rates of aliens released from ICE custody. ATD is comprised of the Unit Chief, Regional Section Chief’s, ATD Contracting Officer’s Representatives (COR), ACOR, and AMO officers.

According to DHS S&T’s GPS Tracker and Biometric Monitor for Detainees Statement of Objectives, a GPS/biometric monitor solution is required for detainees in federal facilities because “the capability to track and monitor detained personnel is limited to visual inspections at federal detention centers.” S&T said, “A significant amount of staffing resources go towards the monitoring of detainee location and health,” and that “currently, the primary way to determine the status of detainees is through visual inspection by the facility staff which is periodic and does not reflect real time status.”

S&T envisioned several scenarios. For example, it explained that the proposed solution can be used at detainment or correctional facilities to help facility staff monitor the population and status of all detainees in real-time from a central location, as well as being able to locate individuals as needed upon request from the floor or field officers. It “can also be used in large shelters for at-risk individuals during disaster, where monitoring the health of the shelter population can be difficult due to limited staffing.”

Issued as a First Responders Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) that seeks white papers and proposals for “rapid prototyping and knowledge product solutions [for] high-priority first responder capability gaps” in 12 different critical technology categories, the purpose and scope of the GPS Tracker and Biometric Monitor for Detainees component of the BAA is for a required “device … that will enable staff to locate and track … all detainees at a facility more efficiently and cost effectively.”

S&T stressed that “this technology could potentially reduce staffing needs and improve accountability at federal detainment facilities,” and that individual devices can be activated at check-in and can also be used during transport between federal and presumably other unspecified law enforcement facilities.

S&T disclosed that there are current technology shortfalls and threats in being able to monitor and track detainees, explaining that while “multiple commercial vendors are developing smart fabrics that integrate physiological sensors,” such as smart shirts, bras, socks, and sneakers that can measure heart rate, breathing rate, oxygen consumption, and other metrics, and other systems that are under development that use disposable “tattoo-like” electronics to monitor physiological signs, the “high costs and the ability to easily remove these systems make them unsuited for use in detainment facilities.”

Consequently, new technologies are required in order to be “able to monitor the biometrics and location of multiple detainees over a large area in real-time.”

S&T said “the system must be individualized, rugged, and robust and ‘attached’ to the inmate until released by officials. The system must be able to operate inside secure facilities with large amounts of steel and concrete as well as outside, and be able to provide the geospacial location of the inmate.”

The system also must be able to be “attached or associated with an individual at intake and remain with them throughout their stay. The system should be customizable to the facility and have mapping capabilities, in the event of an incident.”

The S&T solicitation puts forth the key performance parameters:

• Be easily attached or assigned to an individual that cannot be removed by the detainee. This system should be relatively comfortable to be worn indefinitely;
• Be similar in size to a watch or fitness tracker with a locking mechanism;
• Be shock-proof, either water-resistant or water-proof, and tamper-proof. The device should be able to send an alert if the wearer attempts to tamper with the device;
• If battery operated it must last at least six months without a recharge and be able to send an alert if the device is running low on power or a system fault is identified;
• The receiver must be able have a high-output mode to track the device up to 300 yards;
• Must be able to send an automatic alert in the case of vital sign abnormality or disruption; and
• Must have the Global Positioning System (GPS) and be compatible with Bluetooth 3.0 devices.

The devices’ battery should also last 9 months without a recharge and the receiver should be able to have a high-output mode to track the device up to 500 yards.

S&T said it expects the length of contract to be between 15-18 months, but shall not exceed 18 months, and that all developmental activities are to be performed at the contractor-designated site(s). DHS may require the contractor to perform critical design reviews and/or product presentations at DHS-specified locations.

The DHS directorate emphasized that “first responder agency budgets are limited and should be taken into consideration when developing and determining a price per unit cost model.”

DHS further stated that it “is committed to ensuring the success of [the selected contractor’s] technology by requiring the project performer to provide DHS a minimum of three prototype deliverables which will be used for post-contract testing and evaluation.”

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