Authorities not ready for ‘tagging’

March 25, 2013


The Corrections Department said it was not ready to enforce the new law on electronic monitoring of offenders, which took effect last Friday, saying it had yet to acquire the devices while it also did not have alternative custodial facilities.

“Currently, the department does not have electronic monitoring devices to use with eligible offenders, nor alternative places for incarceration besides prisons,” Corrections Department deputy director Kobkiat Kasiwiwat said on Monday.

Under the new law, the court can order suspects who are in “pending trial” status to be placed in custodial facilities other than a prison, while other offenders can be placed under supervision with electronic monitoring upon their release.

It also covers first-time, well-behaved offenders who have served over one-third of their sentence with a remaining term of less than five years; offenders who could die if incarcerated; are sick and in need of continuous treatment; or must take care of parents, husband, wife or children who are dependant upon them.

Prison chiefs and wardens authorised under the regulation can seek permission from the court to place an offender in the electronic monitoring programme.

The most common forms of electronic monitoring devices, which are commonly known as “tagging”, are wrist bracelets and ankle bracelets.

Mr Kobkiat said he did not know yet how many inmates would be eligible for the new law.

He said the introduction of electronic monitoring devices, which brings the country’s criminal justice system into line with many first world countries, could effectively reduce prison populations.

He said the tagging devices were expensive and his agency could not procure them prior to the promulgation of the law.

“Although the law has taken effect, the Ministry of Justice and Corrections Department still have to carry out a feasibility study and come up with an effective procurement plan first. So we now neither have extra places [for custody] nor the control devices,” Mr Kobkiat said.

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