Home / Technology / News /  Uttar Pradesh prisons turn to AI-based video surveillance to monitor inmates

New Delhi: Law enforcement agencies world over are turning to AI (artificial intelligence), UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles), and face recognition to fight crime.

India, not to be left behind, has seen adoption of these technologies in different areas over the last few months, be it for monitoring crowd or nabbing criminals in Kumbh Mela and Durga Puja. Then there is the Trinetra app by Gurugram-based startup Staqu which has empowered police in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab by providing them with a face recognition tool which allows officials on the ground to identify faces and look for potential matches in centralised database which has photos and records of thousands of criminals.

Now Uttar Pradesh has deployed an AI enabled video analytics platform, called Jarvis, in 70 prisons across the state for multi-purpose analytics. Developed by Staqu, the platform will analyse feeds from the 700 surveillance cameras installed across these prisons. The key activities that will be evaluated include frisking of inmates or visitors by officials, crowd analysis, acts of violence and detection of prison breaches or unauthorised access. If the platform picks up any violation or illegal activities that it is supposed to flag, it will notify the prison authorities, so they can act swiftly.

The analytics platform uses AI algorithm trained on more than a million violence videos captured from different CCTV sources. The AI model has an accuracy of 99.6%, claims Staqu.

The fact that many prisons, be it in India or in other countries, have not been able to fully curtail operations being run by criminals from behind the bars makes a strong case for use of video surveillance.

The occupancy rate of Indian prisons was 114% as on December 2016. In states like Madhya Pradesh (208%) and Uttar Pradesh (168%) the occupancy rates were even higher, claims the India Justice Report 2019, published in November, by Tata Trusts in collaboration with Centre for Social Justice and several other Indian non-profit agencies. The number of vacant positions in prisons is over 20%, with Uttar Pradesh at second position, after Jharkhand, with 68.1% cadre level vacancies and 71.6% officer level vacancies.

“We are glad to integrate a cutting-edge and advanced solution that will closely monitor and scrutinise all the activities that take place in a prison cell. As the digital wave spread across India, we require such smart and advanced solutions for ensuring complete security and wellbeing of the civil societies," Anand Kumar, director general Prisons, Uttar Pradesh, said in a press statement.

The use of AI-powered video analytics by prisons is a first for India, but many others have deployed the system. Prison authorities in several states in the US are already using monitoring systems that use speech recognition and machine learning to monitor inmates and their conversation looking for suspicions language or phrasings that might imply conspiracy or planning of criminal activity.


Abhijit Ahaskar

Abhijit writes on tech policy, gaming, security, AI, robotics, electronics and startups. He has been in the media industry for over 12 years.
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