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Biometrics - Case Studies

HandKey® saves Prison Service Money
The HandKey proved so effective that NIPS now uses more than 40 of the machines at two other major facilities and plans to add even more
At Maghaberry Prison, NIPS has just installed HandKeys at all of the main entry points to the prison

"HandKeys were chosen above other biometric systems because they are extremely easy to use and popular with our staff." - Michael Pepper, Director of Activities and Services, Maghaberry Prison

Summary

Northern Ireland Prison Services (NIPS) saves money with Recognition Systems HandKey® biometric hand reader.

Business Need

Before they discovered Recognition Systems HandKey, Northern Ireland Prison Services monitored all comings and goings at its prisons by posting guards at all access sites and supplying them with keys.  This was an expensive policy, given the guards' high salaries.  The prison needed an automated system that was not only cost-effective, but that wasn't intimated or tired easily.

Challenges

The prison wanted an access-control system that was never compromised and that saved money.

Solution

NIPS installed a pair of HandKeys®. "We were able to install a pair of HandKeys for a one-time payment of less than one-fourth of what we paid each guard annually," said Michael Pepper, Director of Activities and Services at Maghaberry Prison.  "And costs were not the only consideration. HandKeys are not subject to intimidation, for example, nor do they tire easily."

In 1994, after a full evaluation of the product by prison officials, NIPS introduced the HandKey at its Young Offenders Centre in Belfast.  The HandKey proved so effective that NIPS now uses more than 40 of the machines at two other major facilities and plans to add even more.  "The successful use of these HandKeys and their reliability has prompted the expansion of the system into a full access-control system for staff," said Pepper.

At Maghaberry Prison, NIPS has just installed HandKeys at all of the main entry points to the prison.  It also uses the HandKeys at the prison's education department and at the prisoner records storage unit.  Pepper estimates that there are more than 1,000 staff members using the HandKeys at Maghaberry and notes that the machines handle hundreds of movements each day.  HandKeys are also used at two other NIPS facilities, where hundreds of staff members employ them daily to access prisoner accommodation units and workshop areas.  The HandKey is a field-proven biometric hand reader that verifies identity in less than one second, based on the unique size and shape of an individual's hand.

A total of 11 HandKeys are connected to the Maghaberry Prison computer's RS-232 port via the RS-422 daisy chain.  A Wiegand cardreader is attached to each HandKey.

Results

NIPS is saving money and providing uncompromised security at its prisons with the HandKey.


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