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DHS to Track Immigration Detainees with RFID
The US Department of Homeland Security is equipping 19 domestic facilities with active RFID technology to track immigration detainees. The project may mark the first use of RFID for prisoner tracking by a US federal government agency.
Dec 02, 2008—This article was originally published by RFID Update.
December 2, 2008—The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to start tracking 20,000 immigration detainees at US facilities with RFID wristbands beginning in January, 2009. Installation of the new RFID tracking system is planned for 19 DHS detention facilities and will mark the first time the agency has used RFID to track detainees, Greg Oester, president and CEO of TSI Prism, told RFID Update. TSI Prism announced its RFID-based inmate tracking system was selected for the project, which is part of a larger contract awarded to Northrop Grumman to create an infrastructure for housing and transporting DHS detainees.
TSI Prism is providing 2.45 GHz active RFID wristbands, readers, tracking software and integration services. The project is the company's first at the federal level, but it has installed inmate tracking systems at multiple state prisons, according to Oester.
"A typical prison application provides seamless coverage of the facility, inside and out," Oester said. "Tags on the wristbands automatically transmit every two seconds. We triangulate the inmate's location by picking up reads from at least three readers, but preferably from 12."
Hundreds of RFID readers may be installed to provide full coverage of a facility. All inmate movements are tracked and reported in real time, with accuracy typically ranging from five to nine feet indoors and 15 feet outdoors.
"It is a very effective post-incident investigation tool. Inmates cannot deny they were part of an event," said Oester.
TSI Prism's largest installation covers 140 acres with 700 readers at an Illinois state prison, although a new installation at a Washington, DC jail will have 920 read points. The DHS project, which covers 19 facilities and includes orders for 22,000 inmate wristbands, will be the largest deployment of RFID inmate tracking technology anywhere, according to TSI Prism.
Details for the DHS implementation timeline have not been finalized, Oester said. Northrop Grumman announced the original contract runs for one year and includes three separate one-year options.
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