When it comes to guarding prisons, human beings are old-fashioned. Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea are all trialling new approaches – with varying degrees of sophistication – to keep the bad guys locked up.

1. Crocodiles, Indonesia

Indonesia’s anti-drugs agency plans to use crocodiles to guard an island prison for drug dealers. Anti-drugs chief Budi Waseso told Tempo that “we will place as many crocodiles there as we can. I will search for the most ferocious type of crocodile.”


“You can’t bribe crocodiles”

Speaking to the AFP, he added that crocodiles do not share the same weaknesses of human guards. “You can’t bribe crocodiles, you can’t convince them to let inmates escape.”

The plan is still in its early stages.

2. Robots, South Korea

Meanwhile in South Korea, a more high-tech solution is being considered. A prison in Pohang, South Korea has trialled the use of robotic prison guards.

The robots have cameras, pattern recognition software, and a link back to a human controller who can step in when required.

It was build by the Asian Forum for Corrections, the Electronics Telecommunications Research Institute and manufacture SMEC for US$900,000 per unit.

This Reuters video has more details

3. Artificial Intelligence, Malaysia

A police station in Malaysia has a new system that can detect if inmates get into a fight or try to escape by using new video analysis techniques.

The Smart Lock-Up system analyses footage from surveillance cameras in cells, corridors and along the prison’s perimeter, detecting behaviour like climbing, loitering, fighting, suicide attempts and vandalism. It then locates sends an alert to the authorities.

The system is based on artificial intelligence, using “gait analysis” to teach a computer to analyse human motion and behaviour, Ahmad Helmi Abdul Halim, Senior Director of Corporate Market Strategy, MIMOS told GovInsider.

The system was developed by MIMOS, the national ICT research agency, and the Royal Malaysian Police. The Police are now testing it at a lock-up in Kuala Lumpur’s Jinjang Police Station. If proven successful, it could be rolled out to 57 locations across the country.