Input appreciated RFID Tracking
|GeorgeBooth 14 posts
Again great points.
Here is my commitment first of all. Since I have walked that mile myself, I would never dream of putting out a piece of crap program to simply make a buck and pray it works. I’ve looked at all kinds of pricing models and configurations from other software providers and have come to a single conclusion.
I will most likely sell the program as a SaaS. (Software as a service) The only equipment to install would be the RFID receivers and a central modem linking to the existing facility network. No computers to buy, no data entry. I want the program to integrate with whatever booking/classification system that facility is already using. The SaaS also should have free updates, not a program you have to buy every single year or two or three. I see so many of these bait and switch it makes me sick. Also, I know any accountant would be furious, but since software is (cost-less) once it is written, why not sell the full package and let each facility determine how much or how little it uses. The programming cost has already been incurred at that point, so why offer a complicated piece meal “gizmo”. KISS comes to mind.
As far as bugs and glitches. I know there is always a ghost in the machine, but what makes this system different is its simplicity and the absolute permissions given to the facility and it’s officers. CO can’t put a trace route on an inmate, that would require a higher permission. A Sgt. can’t trace route a CO, that would require a Warden or Sheriff permission level, etc etc. I plan on making the GUI (Graphics, User, Interface) as simple as it can be. Not because COs can’t use it properly, but they don’t have the time to learn yet another program on top of the mountain of work they already have. The day to day CO will generally never see the system anyways. It is meant primarily as a computer to be utilized by central control and supervisory levels. I see it’s greatest use by prison investigation and gang unit personnel.
I think with a cloud based program that you simply log on to, the chances for a user to f’up the system is minimized if not alleviated altogether. The training will involve teaching the right people how to disseminate and correlate the information they are being provided. Imagine a report such as this:
Inmate A is caught with contraband. Inmate A can be tracked through the system, but inmate A is a social butterfly and you don’t have the resources to turn every cell he visited. Instead, you can set the parameters in a report to show every cell inmate A visited for more than 120 seconds or five minutes for that matter. That in itself narrows the search considerably, and frees up valuable CO time and effort.
From a supervisory point of view a report of “exceptions” (proximity alarms and all other violations) can be printed every day and the proper adjustments to staffing and training can be made. Like I said, it’s just another tool, not a replacement. Not everyone can see everything, be everywhere and prevent everything. Keep in mind, software can be written to do anything, the only limit is imagination.
|RCJ 49 posts
Technology is great when it works, but the new system we have has numerous glitches that will never get repaired. Another problem is that it crashes often and it takes hours to get it back up and running. I’m of the opinion that it is tragic that facilities will run short on staff because of funding, but always find money to spend on new toys. I’m all for new tools that function properly and are reliable, but have yet to see that happen. As it is we spend to much time on computers doing data entry when we should be on the floor. I hope that your system works better than the other crap that’s out there.
|Campi 227 posts
Don’t take it the wrong way but I see how your system could have merit but your issue is going to be making it not only economical but also make your monitor tamper proof. Your right this system seems like a must have for female prisons just to advert lawsuits. Though as Knuckle Dragger stated this system would have to be used on the guards as well so this will be met with some serious backlash from employees and their respective unions. You have a great set of ideas and I would love it because it would make some lazy good for nothings need to do their jobs. I also know that if a assault is going to happen that the inmates will not give a crap if going into another inmates cell will set off an alarm. This system would have great uses I am sure and I bet given enough time it will function properly. I also know that you will have probably 25 or more years of a uphill fight to make it sell to a system that still is scraping cash to get cameras in every lock and every corridor in the year 2013. Then you have to factor in hiring more people to monitor the system. The biggest issue you will fight is money. How much will a monitor cost? How durable is it? When people become reliant on it and complacent in its use what happens when it stops functioning? Where the hell are we going to get all these automated accessories with this system and what sort of mishaps will we have when the cameras start going apes%*t and doors start locking at random? If they are automated and lock on a glitch will the state be held accountable or the service company if someone gets hurt? And I like the idea of tying their phone privileges and commissary to them. Can we work in life function? If these systems are worked into the prison system how long until the government decides to monitor its citizens with it as well? I could probably go on forever with questions but seeing these items in action will be the only real way to judge them.
|GeorgeBooth 14 posts
Knuckle dragger, thanks so much for the reply. It is definitely opening my eyes as to the proper sales approach.
In that, with all my rambling on it seems as though the system would somehow replace or take a critical function of a CO. That is absolutely not the case. It is not to replace a good old fashioned head count, it is not to take place of a good old fashioned coming to Jesus moment with an inmate. It is 100%, a supplement and just another tool in their inventory.
You mentioned cameras, the system, upon an alert would automatically take the closest camera and focus that proximity. Just one of the features included.
Another key point you made was "COs only play that part on their shift. What this system would do, from a Director/manager point of view is maintain policy and procedure from the top down. Most of all maintain continuity and consistency which are key factors in a correctional facility.
Lastly, I would strongly urge a facility to equip a CO with the RFID for obvious safety reasons and unfortunately those “other” reasons we don’t need to go in to.
Another thing I was thinking of is being able to store commissary and phone privileges on the wristband also which would deter manipulation of the chip. All that information that is already stored is simply a matter of integration programming. If they destroy their wristband, they lose their commissary info until a replacement is made (after their write-up) . Besides if the wristband is cut, just like a house arrest anklet, an immediate alarm would be sounded and dealt with right then and there.
Please keep the comments coming, these are real world objections I need to hear and I really can’t thank you enough for your frank honesty.
|knuckle dragger 42 posts
Mr. Booth….As a traveling salesman and former jail employee I’m sure you have seen many different systems and perspectives for inmate management and security. But as “Campi” states they will figure out the system you have. Twenty-four hours a day seven days a week they are watching and examining every aspect of thier world, The COs only play that part on a regular shift. The system in my facility consists of a bar code and scanners. Alas they constantly break down and we have to revert back to the P and P protocol (paper and pencil). I assume your system is top of the line and works fine but in the working system I’m sure it has its bugs. The use of Radios, panic alarms and cameras often fall into the go to device whenever a situation occurs. Legally how does the tracking system hold up against arguement? I would never trust computer software or rely on them totally. The company that services our tracking system does make good money they are called back quite often. Maybe your system would work better if we could just use it on the stupid COs. Good luck
|GeorgeBooth 14 posts
Thanks so much for your opinion, it’s greatly appreciated as I make adjustments to the functionality and purposing.
That being said, I think in a perfect world corrections officers would be fantastic, if they were all intelligent and if they all had 20 years on the job. The simple fact that most can admit is many of the COs are simply passing through and too many are dumb as a bag of hammers. Reading through the posts on the club house here confirms that point as so many of you use this forum as a sounding board for frustrations.
The purpose of the software and tracking is not to replace good old fashioned well seasoned COs, it’s simply another tool in their belt. Of course inmates will find way to gain the system and manipulate their environment. This software isn’t supposed to replace the day to day interaction, it is to supplement their job as an added security, a preventative tool and an evidentiary mechanism.
With prison populations growing it’s a herculean task and an often futile effort to expect every CO to have the same passion as many of the posters on this forum. Having worked in a jail myself, I know in a pod of 80 inmates, I cannot keep track of every single inmate’s movement when it’s open cells and they are all in the day room. It’s simply impossible. Especially when they send a diversion to the desk.
Now imagine you are at your desk and while you are being diverted.. an alarm immediately sounds of a proximity infraction. You have a choice. You can either fill out paperwork and defend your job AFTER an inmate was attacked, or you can yell out lockdown and possibly prevent the assault from ever occurring while sert/rapid response is running down the hall to your pod.
The software can be used to establish patterns as well. If you are investigating a contraband ring, the software could specifically record the movement of a single inmate. Let’s say you find heroin in a shakedown. The inmate doesn’t give up with supplier obviously, but you can backtrack through the system and see any associations the person had and shakedown those specific cells instead of shaking down an entire tier or pod. The software frees up a few officers to toss a few cells instead of a platoon to shake down an entire wing/tier.
How many times in a COs day do they have to address out of bounds inmates? The proximity alarm immediately sounds when an inmate approaches a tier/pod that isn’t his and the officer can stop/frisk the inmate immediately, not after he’s passed his kite or contraband inside the pod.
Last example is one many have faced in their career. A female inmate alleges that you sexually assaulted her, or she claims she is having a relationship with you. We all know the mere speculation or rumor of this can kill/ruin a career. With the proximity monitoring a CO can easily disprove the claim and administrative action can be taken against the inmate to deter future claims. I know as a male officer, this was one of my biggest fears. it’s probably the reason I was such a hard-ass in the female pods.
These are just a few of the many uses for the software I am putting into the functionality. I want the software to have the ability for new rules to be added with relative ease, since every facility is different.
Again, I appreciate every single bit of advice and input anyone can offer. I see people have viewed the post over 20 times, please if you have the time, give me your criticism, advice and opinion. This software is being built for you, your insight is key.
|Campi 227 posts
There would never be a indestructible band. They would figure it out eventually. Hell some would lose weight so they could slip it and so one. I can see them even figuring how to hack it eventually to look like they are another inmate. They have systems like this in places where they have a wrist band with a barcode and are scanned at chow the infirmary and so on whenever they do or receive anything. They trade these items just like they do the badges at my prison so they can go to chow multiple times. In both cases there are penalties to these actions but it does not stop them. The fact is good old fashioned feet on the ground and intelligent officers are the closest thing to a perfect system. Just like face scanners. The machine cannot tell if the face is printed on paper or not where a guard can see a guy holding a piece of paper up to a camera.
|GeorgeBooth 14 posts
Ladies and Gentleman,
In a stroke of genius (or a few too many beers), I am beginning designs on an inmate tracking system utilizing my company’s workforce management rules interpretation engine. (In layman’s terms, if/than/so)
The system I am designing will utilize 7 year RFID transmitters imbedded into an inmate bracelet. This chip will give inmate location down to a few inches. The system will fully integrate with the booking/classification software so no secondary data entry is required.
What I am humbly asking for is any ideas some of you would like to see/have regarding functionality of the system. Here are a few of the intended uses:
Proximity is over-layed on an integrated graphical map of the facility. Accurate down to centimeters.
A lot of things are dependent upon the facility as well. Although I’m working on the “indestructible” wristband, we all know inmates can break anything eventually. A facility would need to provide severe penalties for trying to remove or tamper with a wristband. In the future we are looking to design a wristband that contains phone and commissary info also.
I know there are a tremendous number of years of experience on this forum so I can’t possibly tell you how grateful I am for any feed-back you may offer or functionality you would like to see. We are beginning early stage writing at this point and hopefully will have a fully functional product within a year. Our goal is to provide a more controlled environment which results in a safer environment for officers.
Thanks for your time,
* For speed and versatility, Corrections.com has been relaunched in opensource. Some older postings dates may be affected.