At a high-tech prison that opened last week in Lelystad, the Netherlands, inmates wear electronic wristbands that track their every movement and guards monitor cells using emotion-recognition software, reports the Associated Press. Authorities are convinced that the facility, dubbed “the Big Brother Prison” by the local press, represents the future of correctional facilities: cheap and efficient, without coddling criminals or violating their fundamental rights. Detainees are kept in six-man dormitory cells. They will do their own cooking, washing, and organize their own daytime schedules via a touch-screen monitor at the foot of their beds.
Prisoners have limited choices for activities — electives include drug education and exercise — and they are locked in their cells at night. Camera surveillance is limited to public spaces — not on beds or in bathrooms. Cells have with microphones that relay information to a control center where software analyzes sound volume and rhythm to alert guards to violence. The estimated cost per prisoner is $125 a night, compared with $170 at other Dutch prisons. With monitoring is easier, the new facility requires far fewer guards.