Identification when visiting a prison

Biometric Identification System

The Biometric Identification System increases prison security and makes it quicker and easier for visitors to access prisons across Queensland. All but one Queensland prisons now have Biometric Identification Systems.

All correctional centre staff and visitors over the age of 18 years must enrol in the biometric identification system database.

How it works

The biometric system involves a small machine that scans the finger and converts the image to a data format called a template. The template does not look like a fingerprint, and is instead a set of encrypted numbers. No actual fingerprint image is stored.

When you visit a prison, the machine scans your finger and then compares your template with the ones in its database. If the match is close enough you will be allowed to enter.

If the match is not close enough the system will ask you to enter your birthdate. It will use this extra information to process the match and decide if it is valid.

Uses of biometric information

Biometric information is used to:

  • check the identity of all staff and visitors entering a prison
  • enable visitors to enter and leave a prison during authorised access times
  • identify all staff and visitors in a prison at any time
  • provide information on upcoming and completed visits.

Visiting a prison with a biometric system

When you telephone a centre to book a visit, staff will and enter some details into the biometric system to create a visit booking.

If it is your first time visiting a centre you will still have to follow the usual visit application process. This includes filling in a Form 27 and having a criminal history check.

Biometric enrolment

When you report to visitor reception for your first visit, we will enrol you on the biometric system. This involves doing a finger scan, taking a photo of your face and checking your personal identification documents.

Visiting after biometric enrolment

If you have already enrolled in the biometric system, come to the prison at your appointment time. When you put your finger on the scanning pad this will bring up your photo and details.

Staff can then check your identity and confirm your visit booking. They will then give you a table and locker number.

The staff will do a drug search before you can go through the secure entrance. Here you will put your finger on another scanning pad. Once the system has verified your identity the door will open and you can enter the prison. After you have finished your visit, your finger will be scanned as you leave the prison.

What happens to your biometric enrolment information?

Your biometric information is stored at the prison and in a central computer database. We store the data locally at each prison so that large groups of visitors can enter quickly.

If people need to visit a number of prisons their data is stored in the central database. The central database also gives us a backup for the data stored in prison databases.

We hold biometric information and personal details for at least 2 years after your last visit to a prison.


The personal information stored in the biometric system is private and protected by law. Only authorised corrective services staff may access the database. Wrongfully releasing any personal information is an offence.

The biometric system is not linked to any other database. For example, fingerprint templates cannot be matched against actual fingerprint records held by the police. The system cannot convert your template back into a fingerprint image either.