Alabama’s prison system is the first – and currently only – in the nation to require visitors to be fingerprinted. In late 2012, the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) implemented the new policy due to what officials claimed was a need for greater efficiency. A new computer system had the capacity to scan fingerprints, something the old system was not able to do. The fingerprinting procedure was “part of the upgrade” and the brainchild of the ADOC’s IT department, according to prison system spokesman Brian Corbett.
The old system required guards to review each visitor’s driver’s license to verify their identity before allowing them into a state prison.
“That was a time-consuming task,” Corbett told the Montgomery Advertiser. “Now, the verification process is much faster, so visitors are moved through the process much faster.”
“We still require visitors to have a government-issued photo ID, and that requirement will remain in place,” he added. “But there are times when someone else resembles the photo on an ID. Scanning the fingerprint of visitors verifies they are who they say they are.”
The program prompted an immediate response from the American Civil Liberties Union. David Fathi, director of the ACLU’s National Prison Project, didn’t buy the ADOC’s purported security concerns.