UK prisons to scan fingers

The UK Home Office is set to use biometric security systems in five of its high-security prisons.

The inmate management system (IMS), which is due to go live in a Milton Keynes prison next week, takes photos and scans the fingerprints of prisoners and visitors.

The system, similar to U.S. immigration biometric security, is designed to speed up processing times and prevent visitors and prisoners from swapping places.

"How do you ban a visitor?" said Francis Toye, MD of the firm Unilink, which sold the biometrics kit to the Home Office. "The system allows you to know who is who and where they are. It uses top of the range fingerprint readers."

Prisons in Middlesex, Manchester, Whitemore and Long Lartin are also set to use the technology.

Reports suggest that the IMS cost somewhere in the region of £200,000.

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