Elec­tronic mon­i­tor­ing a ‘game changer’ in crime fight­ing

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Syranno Baines Gleaner Writer syranno.baines@glean­erjm.com

THE MIN­ISTRY of Na­tional Se­cu­rity and the Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices (DCS) are at­tempt­ing once more to suc­cess­fully im­ple­ment elec­tronic mon­i­tor­ing of lowrisk 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.

REINTEGRATE WITH FAM­ILY

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.

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