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Electronic monitoring a 'game changer' in crime fighting

Published:Thursday | November 24, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Robert Montague

The Ministry of National Security and the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) are attempting once more to successfully implement electronic monitoring of low-risk and repeat offenders along with bail applicants.

Minister of National Security Robert Montague said during a press briefing yesterday that submissions would be made to Cabinet to amend certain parliamentary acts to encapsulate and give protection to electronic monitoring.

The culprits are to be tagged with an ankle alloy bracelet equipped with a battery and confined to a specific geographic area (geofencing). Once the confinement is breached, it's registered in the virtual system and the accused is retrieved and taken back to prison.

He stated that talks are currently ongoing with four vendors to supply the required technology, while adding that the ministry has already signed with two, with the potential of more options.

Montague also conveyed that the family members of the offenders would foot the bill associated with such a move so that taxpayers might not feel the sting of it. If family members refuse to pay, then the inmate remains incarcerated.

A pilot project is to be undertaken for inmates with six months or less remaining on their sentence or those not considered high risk to the public.




Speaking with The Gleaner about the effectiveness if brought to fruition Commissioner of Corrections Ina Hunter said: "It's going to be effective as you are looking at releasing offenders before their actual release date. This allows them to reintegrate with family quicker as they tell you when behind bars, they worry about the family, especially children."

She further added: "Ninety-six per cent of the prison population is males, which shows that the fathers aren't in the home."

Also speaking on the advantages of the proposal, Montague told The Gleaner: "The overburdened taxpayer will be spared additional taxes. The offender will remain in the family structure while serving the time and repaying their debt to society, which reduces the prison population."

He also added: "It will be that important third witness. For example, there is a breach of a protection order, there will be no need for eyewitness reliability as the technology will say you were in this place, at this time".

Montague labelled the move a 'game changer' in combating crime.