Inmates at the Jefferson County Jail are now sporting wristbands with scanable chips in an effort to improve inmate control and tracking.
All of the jail's approximately 280 inmates have been issued the bracelet, which contains the wearer’s photo and booking information.
Inmate wristbands are scanned after cell checks, meal deliveries and courthouse transports.
The idea is both to keep track of inmates’ whereabouts and eliminate any dispute that they didn’t receive food or commissary items.
“It feeds that info in via the Wi-Fi into a tracking system, so it’s time-date stamped that at this time I provided you with a meal,” said Sgt. Perry Tindall of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.
The system was implemented six weeks ago. While it cost the county $75,000, it's expected to save taxpayer funds in the long run by not allowing inmates to continuously claim they need hygiene items often used to barter.
“Its potential is to help save us quite a bit of money on our supplies and resources to better control our inventory,” said Lt. Kevin Carle.
The scanner works like one typically seen at a grocery store, and has nearly eliminated paper logs. Jail officials say the technology adds another layer of protection against inmate escape.
"Just the real time tracking and to know where they’re at all times while we’re responsible for their location and their care in custody,” said Tindall.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department is working to expand and improve their Wi-Fi for full coverage throughout the grounds.