MDC adding eye scanners to inmate booking and release


MDC is ramping up security measures to make sure no more inmates are mistakenly released.

This move comes after an inmate passed himself off as his cellmate to get out and then vanished.

In any given month the jail releases about 3,000 inmates back onto the streets. They hope iris scanners keep the wrong people from getting out. 

“Their iris is scanned and as they’re leaving their irises would be re-scanned to ensure it’s the same person,” said MDC spokesperson Candace Hopkins.

Jail officials said they plan to have three iris scanners installed by mid-July.

“Those fixed cameras would be of course in the releasing department and the booking department,” Hopkins said. 

Earlier this month Duwin Perez-Cordova copied his cellmate’s appearance and used his personal information to get out of jail. His escape prompted retraining of any jail staff that deals with releasing inmates. 

“In this instance we know the two inmates were able to exchange information and that allowed them to switch places, so adding this iris scanning is just another tool to make sure they can’t trick the system again,” Hopkins said. 
It didn’t just happen here. There was a mistaken release at the Santa Fe County jail last year when Angelina Jinzo told guards she was someone else.

Back then, jail officials said they were working to enhance their release process. Thursday, KRQE News 13 tried to ask them what changes they’ve made, but haven’t heard back. 

State prison officials, however, said they don’t have issues with inmates stealing identities to get released. They said they don’t use iris scanners but check the inmate’s most recent mug shot for facial recognition.

But after this last incident, MDC officials said they don’t want to take any chances. 

“We want to make sure that this doesn’t occur again at our facility and this is a way to take a step in the right direction,” Hopkins said. 

Jail staff will also have two mobile devices to scan inmates’ eyes. Once they get the technology, jail staff will scan every inmate that’s already housed at MDC.

MDC will pay a little under $20,000 for those scanners as part of a two-year contract. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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