by James C. Lowery
By: Mikeal Karlsson/Alamy
and monitoring inmates within a prison or jail is a constant challenge,
especially when it comes to overseeing their communication with the
public. Although frequent communication
with an inmate’s support group is encouraged in order to improve the probability
of successful community re-entry, there is still a large group of inmates
that continue to commit crimes by utilizing the inmate telephones. The safety of the community, correctional
officers and the inmate population is at stake, and it is up to inmate
communications providers to develop effective solutions to meet these
The Basics of Tracking Inmate Calling
facilities are legally required to track, record and monitor all calls made by
inmates to prevent illegal activity and prosecute further criminal behavior. At
most facilities, inmates are assigned a unique Personal Identification Number
(PIN) which they are required to use when making calls.
PIN’s are used to track inmate calling patterns, identify call recordings and
records, and manage inmate contacts. As
an example: an inmate incarcerated for raping someone would not be allowed to
contact the victim by placing a contact restriction on that inmate’s PIN.
there is a population of inmates that “share” their PIN, either voluntarily or
involuntarily, with other inmates. The sharing of PINs circumvent prison
security regulations making it nearly impossible to accurately track who truly
made the call. PIN sharing would allow
an inmate to make unregulated calls to inappropriate contacts, such as criminal
associates outside of prison, to continue illegal activity or to threaten victims
into not testifying.
Voice Biometrics to Increase Prison Safety
recognition is the area of biometrics in which auditory noise is examined in
order to identify an individual. One of
the most extraordinary applications of voice biometrics is the identification
of inmates when they make a call from prison.
Correctional voice biometrics are able to guarantee that the inmate placing
a call is who they say they are. The system’s decision engine uses statistical
pattern matching techniques, advanced classification methods, and inputs from
multiple mathematical algorithms to properly verify and identify speech.
When an inmate enters a prison,
the inmate provides a base voiceprint when they first attempt to make a call
utilizing their PIN. This voiceprint is
then permanently linked to their PIN. The process of creating a voice print is
called “enrollment”. Voiceprints are not .WAV audio files and can’t
be modified. They are statistical representations of speech
and thus cannot be stolen or used anywhere except within the inmate phone system.
Once an inmate has enrolled their
voiceprint into the system they will be required to match their voiceprint to
place all future calls. If an inmate’s
attempted voiceprint matches the voiceprint on file in the Inmate Registry, the
call can proceed.
In the event the attempted voiceprint
does not match the voiceprint on file, the inmate will be notified that the
call cannot proceed.
In advanced voice biometric systems , if an
inmate fails a voiceprint match, the system
produces a report of attempted PINs that did not match voiceprints on file and
sends a notification to investigators for a detailed inquiry into the detected
the major drawbacks with voice biometrics in a correction environment is noise
level within a prison that causes the inmate’s voice print to produce a false
negative. False negative results can
cause facility operators to lower the voiceprint threshold level in an effort
to eliminate the issues. As a result,
inmates are sometimes able to pass voice biometrics using another inmate’s PIN.
Enhanced Calling Security
eliminate the drawbacks associated with voice biometrics technology, innovative
companies like Legacy have developed enhanced call security solutions such as
is a Legacy-developed, fully enhanced service that helps protect inmates from
sharing (or stealing) one another’s Personal Identification Number (PIN).
technology simply requires an inmate to verify his/her PIN number along with a
set of personal challenge/response questions entered into the Jail Management
System (JMS) at the time of booking. The combination of unique and personal
data offers a Protection Profile equal to the National
Institute of Standards and Technology
to the method’s success is varying the data request that offers mechanisms for
minimizing a compromise of credentials. Data sharing by inmates is eliminated
by a rotating set of challenge questions; basic information yields a set of
limitless questions and can be configured to the protection profile.
Variations in Voice Biometric and Call
significant differentiators in call security services are the developer of the
service and the system’s controller. The optimal solution comes from an inmate
communication provider that develops, updates, customizes and controls the
solution internally. Partnering with a single source provider means detention
facilities will always have the most updated version of the technology and can
have a tailored solution to meet their needs.
solutions, such as inmate communication providers that purchase or partner with
companies that provide voice biometrics, can initially provide passable
solutions which typically fall behind in technology support and advancement due
to the lack of system integration/control. This is due to the rapid
improvements in the tech industry and the subcontracting company’s inability to
keep up with the dynamics of a changing industry.
looking for a new inmate communications provider with advanced call security
features for your detention facility, focus on a single source provider with an
internal technology department.
know your thoughts on Voice Biometrics technology in prisons and detention
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Legacy is a nationwide provider and has been a leader in the
inmate communications industry for over 17 years, with headquarters in Cypress,
California. We provide favorable rates
for friends and family, unparalleled customer service and a host of technology
options that complement all parties involved in reducing inmate recidivism.
Legacy is unique in that it is a single-source provider, researching,
developing, building integration and implementing every aspect of its Inmate
Telephone Systems and Video Visitation Systems.