In an effort to prevent jail deaths, Arlington County, Virginia’s new sheriff is introducing the use of wristbands equipped with biometric sensors for inmates.
Sheriff Jose Quiroz, who succeeded Sheriff Beth Arthur when she retired Jan. 6, said the new technology will supplement the current 15-minute health and wellness checks of inmates, conducted by sheriff’s deputies in the Arlington County Jail.
“By implementing biosensors that continuously monitor heart rate, motion and are able to detect risks to health and safety, jail staff will be instantly notified of a medical emergency and be able to respond quickly,” according to a news release from Quiroz’s campaign.
Quiroz was Arthur’s chief deputy, which automatically made him the sheriff when she retired. Arthur has said she is supporting Quiroz in his December 2023 primary race against retired sheriff’s office official Wanda Younger and Arlington County police officer James Herring.
“This program is designed to prevent jail deaths, specifically deaths caused by suicide, substance use withdrawal, and underlying medical conditions — the cause of Arlington’s tragic deaths in recent years,” according to the release.
The sensors are being introduced in the medical areas of the facility, with Quiroz exploring facility-wide implementation in 2024 if he is elected.
A spokesperson said the sheriff’s office identified an existing funding source to begin the program, and is working to secure longer-term funding.