JIS News

The Correctional Services Department has implemented a tracking system, to monitor inmates in the Conditional Release Programme.
The device, worn on the ankle and waist, is used to monitor low risk offenders, who are temporarily released, escorted and unescorted, to be engaged in work release activities and weekend release.
This project, which is in its pilot phase, will last for two years. The tags include a transmitter cuff or ankle bracelet and a personal tracking unit, which is worn at the waist.
A 24-hour monitoring centre has also been established to track the prisoners, using GPS technology.
Yesterday (December 17), Minister of National Security, Senator Colonel Trevor MacMillan, visited the centre on King Street, in Downtown Kingston, to get an update on the electronic tagging of persons.
“One of the things it will do is to allow more people to go on parole, and this is very critical, [and] for us to really put away the people who really deserve to be in there, and keep them in there,” the Minister said, adding that the system would help to address the issue of overcrowding in prisons.
Project Manager for the Electronic Monitoring of Offenders Project, Ira Porter, informed that the instruments have been quite effective, adding that the system is able to cover a wide area.
“We have tracked people all the way across the hills from Manchester, through Trelawny and we get continuous tracking. We have tracked people down to the seaside of Rocky Point and Racecourse and so far we have had no problems,” she said.
“The tracking is done by GPS,” she continued, “and for the tracking, we have a map of each parish with the streets, so at any given time, you can identify just where the person is.”
Ms. Porter informed that participants in the programme are of the view that it would assist with the reintegration of offenders into the community.
She noted that 42 volunteers in six parishes have been tagged as part of the project. The parishes are, Hanover, Kingston and St. Andrew, Clarendon, Manchester and St. Elizabeth.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Major Richard Reese, said it would cost about US$16 per day to track an offender, against US$21 per day for accommodation.
Major Reese said based on tests conducted, if the device is tampered with, the monitoring centre is alerted immediately of the violation and a response team is sent out.
“If we find that the response time is lacking in a particular jurisdiction, then we can also limit the tagging to specific police divisions. So, that is another option that we are looking at. As you test, the whole business of recall is a very critical factor, but you can limit it to where you have the resources to recover,” he pointed out.
Major Reese said the Department is also assessing whether there is the need for a special team to recover offenders, pointing out that the offenders could be identified at any point or time, as the system is operated by four satellites.

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