Prisons across the United States are reportedly building biometric databases that include voice recordings of incarcerated people, according to The Intercept. The report cites contracting documents for the state of New York’s prison system, as well as statements from officials in Texas, Florida, Arkansas and Arizona confirming that prisons are actively using voice recognition technology that can extract and digitize voices to create unique and identifiable biometric signatures known as voice prints.
The Justice Department announced Thursday that it will no longer use private prisons, which is a decision that will be considered a victory by prison reform advocates who have long argued that private prisonsprovide inadequate care to inmates and that the for-profit prison model favors corporate gains over actual justice. The Washington Post reports that the Justice Department has decided to cease the use of private prisons after determining private prisons are less effective than government-run prisons.
In an effort to fix the nation’s criminal justice system, President Barack Obama is commuting the sentences of non-violent drug offenders. Today the Washington Post is reporting that the President has reduced the sentences of 46 inmates in an effort to reduce the prison population and operating costs. This comes before Obama’s visit to a federal prison Thusday in Oklahoma, and he’s also expected to speak on prison reform in a speech at the NAACP‘s annual conference in Philadelphia on Tuesday.