Mexican prisons deploy 3VR's facial recognition technology
LAS VEGAS—Several prisons in the Mexican state of Guanajuato are using facial recognition software from 3VR to manage visitors and keep tabs on suspects who act as intermediaries between gang members behind bars.
At the largest prison in Guanajuato, in the city of Leon, which is just north of Mexico City, there are sometimes 1,500 visitors a day, Pablo Antonio Sanchez Urbina, Guanajuato's undersecretary of public security, told Security Director News at last week's ISC West. One day a year, as many as 2,500 visitors a day show up for the general visit, which Urbina said is like a national holiday in Mexico. "It's very difficult for us because too many people look alike," Urbina said, referring to the task of making sure the people who are visiting the prisons are the same ones leaving at the end of their visit.
When there are 1,500 visitors a day, it's easy to imagine how long the lines must sometimes become, especially when prison employees only have an ID card to confirm a person's identity. With each visitor having their picture taken and added to the database, Urbina said the process of identifying and keeping track of visitors is much easier and faster. It's also allowed manpower to be reallocated to other, more pressing, duties, he said.
The 3VR facial recognition software is now in use at eight of Guanajuato's 10 prisons, and Urbina said it will be in all 10 by the end of the year. At the end of 2011, they added an enterprise server, which makes sharing and matching images between the prisons' systems much easier. The fact 3VR's facial recognition technology can work across analog and IP-based cameras has also been helpful because he hasn't had to replace any cameras to deploy the technology. He said through an interpreter that he's also happy because the system is also working well in the rough conditions that exist in the prisons, such as low light and less-than-perfect camera placement.
The Guanajuato prisons are the first prisons to deploy 3VR technology, Al Shipp, 3VR's CEO, told SDN. "This is it for us right now, but it's opening up the market for us. These guys created the use case for us," Shipp said. "We're starting to talk to more and more. We're even talking to some in the U.S."
There are other instances of facial recognition software being used in a prison environment. SDN recently reported on Alabama's Madison County Jail deploying facial recognition software from National Security Resources for visitor management.
As undersecretary of public security for Guanajuato, Urbina is also in charge of the state police. Once the facial recognition is deployed at all the state's prisons, he'd like to begin deploying it among the surveillance systems in the cities, where they could potentially be used to track criminals and for license plate capture.