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US DOJ wants biometric identification SDK for prisoner transfer application

Facial recognition to be integrated into apps used by Marshals Service


The U.S. Department of Justice’s Marshals Service has announced a contract opportunity to supply a software development kit to build a capability for biometric identification of prisoners into an app used in transfers between facilities.

The Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System (JPATS) coordinates prisoner transfers for the Marshals Service and the Bureau of Prisons, of which there were more than a quarter of a million last year. The two agencies use separate apps, and are seeking a capability for biometric matching to quickly confirm the identity of and pull up additional information about prisoners being transferred.

The solution Justice is issuing the contract for will perform biometric facial recognition against booking photos, and return information on the identity and destination of the prisoner, as well as related medical or security concerns.

The Marshals Service and Bureau of Prisons are developing an app called the Movement Packet (MPAC) to transmit prisoner data to the JPATS Management Information System (JMIS), so the app Justice is trying to build will have to work with both MPAC and JMIS.

MPAC is being developed for Android, and JMIS is currently used by Marshals with government-issued iOS devices, so the SDK will have to be compatible with both operating systems. The request for quotes document says the application will be installed on around a thousand devices.

Biometric matches should take less than a second, and then proceed to the next prisoner after the operator confirms the information without starting a new session. It should work at a distance, and while the device is offline, and include configurable matching thresholds, with a capability to return multiple photos when the threshold is not met. The agency expects 85 percent or more of attempted matches to meet the threshold.

Vendors are asked to provide details on the requirements of their proposed solution, in terms of software, configuration, infrastructure, connectivity and power, as well as on the trustworthiness of their AI code, local device interactivity, and compliance with federal laws and regulations.

A request for information was put out by the agency in February, followed by a request for quotes and a pair of amendments in September. The contract being offered is for one year, with four one-year options to renew the license. Bids are due on September 25.

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