In a move to protect survivors of sexual and domestic abuse, Government has today announced that the court system now has 250 electronic monitoring devices to administer to those offenders.
Already, six people are being monitored via these ankle bracelets, with 35 more awaiting its use once they can access bail.
National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds said the devices cost the state around $10.3 million over 3 years, with staffing for the Electronic Monitoring Unit (EMU), who are tasked to respond to any breaches, costing $1.7 million annually.
Guardian Media understands this will provide real time tracking of the wearer on a 24/7 basis and is a new sentencing option for Judges and Magistrates.
A Judge can offer the use of the bracelet as a sentence for an offence committed, in lieu of a sentence of imprisonment, as a condition of an order for bail, as a condition for a protection order and as a condition of probation. Persons convicted of murder or treason are not eligible.
Offenders will have to consent to using the ankle bracelet except in cases of Domestic Violence, where the court does not need the permission of the offender.
The wearer also will have to pay a fee for the option of using the device.
In some cases where a victim would want to monitor where the offender is, a two-piece device is issued with the victim being able to track the movement of the offender and alert the EMU if they are within their zone.
Offenders will be assigned inclusion as well as exclusion zones. Given that the devices use GPS and telecommunication infrastructure, the EMU will advise the wearer not to venture into places with poor cellular reception.
Tampering with the device carries with it a heavy fine of $100,000 and two years’ imprisonment.
The EMU said there are fail safes to ensure that in case the device malfunctions, the wearer would not be wrongly penalized.