JIS News

Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Senator Arthur Williams, has said that an electronic monitoring pilot project for the observation of offenders would be launched on October 8.
Making his contribution to the 2008/09 State of the Nation Debate in the Senate on July 25, Senator Williams noted that the Department of Correctional Services would be undertaking the project, in collaboration with the Ministry and DILIEU Technology out of the United States.
He noted that in August of last year, the Ministry and the Department of Correctional Services signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with DILIEU Technology, for the implementation of a pilot electronic monitoring system in Jamaica.
He informed that the technology to be employed is the Global Positioning System (GPS), and that critical to the GPS technology, is the provision of maps of Jamaica. He noted too, that the difficulties that had been encountered regarding the provision of the maps, which delayed the start-up of the project, “have now been resolved and the necessary preparatory work is proceeding.”
The Senator informed that electronic monitoring involves attaching an anklet to an offender, whose movements are then observed from a central site, and enables the authorities to watch the movements of the person anywhere in Jamaica. “The monitoring centre has been established (at the Department of Correctional Services head office), equipped and staff trained and ready to carry out the operations of the centre,” he said.
In addition, he noted that electronic monitoring could be used to aid the re-integration of inmates into society upon conditional release. It also enhances sentencing options and thereby reduces overcrowding, and costs, in the correctional institutions.
Senator Williams pointed out that several countries are taking advantage of this technological aid to the criminal justice system, including the Bahamas.
He cited an article written in the Nassau Guardian newspaper out of the Bahamas, which made note of the advantages associated with electronic monitoring, in lieu of imprisonment. It stated: “Such technology will provide an alternative sentence for the criminal justice system. Less serious first time offenders may be subject to electronic monitoring as opposed to being imprisoned. This alternative sanction will allow such persons to remain employed and therefore support their family and will also reduce the overall prison population.”
Senator Williams said he expected the electronic monitoring pilot project to be a successful venture.