A Baltimore inmate who bluffed his way out of prison probably wouldn’t have tricked guards if they had eye-scanners like those being installed at many jails, the Associated Press reports. The federal government is paying for the scanners to help build a nearly foolproof identification system to stop to such escapes. Raymond Taylor was serving three life sentences for shooting his ex-girlfriend and her two teenage daughters. He impersonated a cellmate last week and was released. He was arrested the next day in West Virginia.
The U.S. Justice Department has given a $500,000 grant to the National Sheriff’s Association, which is giving $10,000 grants to about 45 agencies that will create a national database that better identifies, registers, and tracks inmates. “While this technology has been around generally for 10 to 15 years, it just hasn’t gotten into the mainstream yet,” said the sheriff group’s Fred Wilson. “You have to remember that the average law enforcement agency is very small and they can’t afford this stuff.” The sheriff’s association teamed with Plymouth, Mass.-based Biometric Intelligence and Identification Technologies and picked agencies from more than 400 that applied. The chosen agencies ranged from the Los Angeles County sheriff’s department and Las Vegas police to small departments like Story County, Ia., and Rutland County, Vt.