SINGAPORE - The vision is to have fewer guards patrolling the prison cells but it will not mean that abnormal activities such as fights will go undetected. In fact, new technology on trial at the Changi Prison Complex will make it easier for Prisons officers to detect fights.
The prototype video analytics called Avatar, also known as the Human Behaviour Detection System, can detect acts of aggression using an algorithm that captures high intensity, erratic motions and various interaction points between two people in a cell.
Avatar is one of several new technological initiatives that the Singapore Prison Service is piloting or implementing as part of the Prisons Without Guards transformational operational concept introduced in April last year.
The analytics system sends an alert to officers in the prison's control centre if it picks up aggressive motions.
Previously, officers had to browse through CCTV footage from cells to pick up any instances of fighting while officers also patrolled regularly round the clock.
The senior assistant director, technology branch, Superintendent 1A Chan Kai Yuen, 45, told the media on Thursday (June 21) that while the system was still being fine-tuned,the trials had been promising so far and the system was able to detect actual fights in the cell.
He added: "The vision is such that we want to free up our officers from more mundane and routine activities so they can spend more time to engage in higher order work such as rehab of our inmates.''
Avatar is on trial in one prison cell in Changi Prison's Cluster B. If it is successful, Singapore Prison Service will expand it throughout its institutions.
Other initiatives include automated muster checking, where facial recognition technology is on trialto replace the manual muster checks done by prison officers on the ground to account for inmates several times a day.
With the new initiative, cameras in the cells capture the facial images of inmates and verify them with the records in the database.
Another initiative, the Intelligent Logistics Item Dispenser System, consists of self-service vending machines that let inmates buy canteen items by matching their identity with their weekly spending allowance.
Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and for National Development Sun Xueling toured the A4 cluster of the prison to see the initiatives.
She said: "I am glad to see how the SPS is implementing and testing new technology to strengthen rehabilitation for inmates and improve operational effectiveness."