Security ministry launches pilot project for electronic tagging of inmates
The Ministry of National Security has launched a pilot project for the electronic tagging of inmates. The project is being conducted to assess the use of electronic monitoring devices for low-risk offenders, and to move towards fully integrating these devices into the custodial process.
Speaking at the signing ceremony last Thursday at the ministry's head office, Minister of National Security Robert Montague said the decision to implement electronic monitoring of low-risk offenders in lieu of incarceration is an important part of the current reform of the correctional services.
He said the initiative will allow low-risk offenders to serve their sentences within their communities with Department of Correctional Services supervision, and access to rehabilitation support.
"The launch of this electronic monitoring pilot project is a very historic moment for us at the ministry. It is a game changer. This is one of the ways we will move forward and treat with some of the systemic problems in our correctional services so that we can continue to improve the rehabilitative environment," he noted.
According to Montague, the pilot programme for electronic monitoring of low-risk offenders will allow the ministry to closely assess the services of several providers who have indicated a willingness to demonstrate their system.
Four companies, locally and internationally, have indicated an interest in the pilot - Controlled Communications Limited, Guardsman Limited, Security Central International (Cayman) and Comprehensive Security Solutions (Barbados). Controlled Communications and Guardsman have already begun the process to commence their three-month demonstration with a separate set of selected participants from the Department of Correctional Services.
The suppliers will demonstrate their services at no cost to the Government for a three-month pilot period, and will be doing so with no guarantee that their services will be used after the pilot. Montague said the plan is to have the cost of electronic monitoring for inmates borne by their families.
The launch of the pilot project is a part of the ongoing rehabilitation reform process. An agreement has also been signed with the College of Agriculture, Science and Education so that correctional institutions that do not have adequate farmlands can engage in hydroponics.
"This is part of a wider effort to improve the correctional system as we continue our drive to modernise our security infrastructure and achieve sustainable reductions in the level of crime in Jamaica," the minister stated.