New Technology To Keep Lubbock County Inmates Behind Bars - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/21/08

New Technology To Keep Lubbock County Inmates Behind Bars

A thumbprint is now mandatory for inmates to go in and out of the Lubbock County Jail.

This comes nearly three months after human error led to the release of Joseph Luis Gonzales. Authorities took Gonzales back into custody two days later.

Three Lubbock County Sheriff's Deputies were reprimanded because of the incident and the sheriff's office also launched a review. From that investigation, came a thumbprint identification system for inmates.

Lubbock County Sheriff's Deputy Sylvia Morales sees many thumbs.

"I was double checking I had the right file on the right inmate and making sure I was releasing them correctly," Morales explained as she checked out an inmate.

An inmate can leave the jail only after they show an identification bracelet and place their thumb on a scanner. Their thumbprint, picture and record then pop up on Morales's screen.

When NewsChannel 11's tried the system, nothing showed up. That is because only those who are in the Lubbock County Jail, or who have been behind bars before, will show up in the system. 

Chief Deputy Kelly Rowe says the fingerprint identification system is tied by files into the jail's basic booking system. Rowe explains the system cost taxpayers about $700 - an inexpensive investment when it comes to ensuring your safety.

"Anything we can do, when we know were handling an inmate particularly and when we're releasing them back out into the community that we know who've got and who were are dealing with and that's the right person going out the door. It's a small price to pay," Rowe said.

 It is a triple security check, which Morales says only takes a few extra minutes.

"A wristband and the fingerprint and you automatically get a picture of the inmate then you verify that's them," Morales said.

 The thumbprint identification system has been in use at the Lubbock County Jail for nearly two weeks. Rowe tells us that the county might use this identification system and possibly a retinal scanner at the new jail, which is expected to open in April 2009.

11/20/07
Staff Negligence Leads To Mistaken Inmate Release
Lubbock Sheriff David Gutierrez says a human error led to the accidental release of Joseph Luis Gonzales.

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