Iris scans may prevent mistaken release of inmates -

Iris scans may prevent mistaken release of inmates

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Jails across the country are installing eye-scanning equipment to make sure inmates can't bluff their way to freedom.

The U.S. Department of Justice has given $500,000 to the National Sheriff's Association, which is doling out grants to about 45 agencies. They range from large operations like the Los Angeles County sheriff's department to small ones such as the jail in Story County, Iowa.

Scanners work by using infrared light to map the iris, which contains about six times more features than a fingerprint. Within seconds, guards can identify an inmate.

Officials hope to establish a national system that could prevent escapes like what happened Thursday in Baltimore, where an inmate slipped away before being found the next day.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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