A legislative proposal recently approved by the cabinet calls for the introduction of ankle monitors for convicts serving part of their term under house arrest.
According to the amendment, inmates who are sentenced to less than four years and have served at least half their time may be eligible to serve up to 12 months of their remaining sentence under house arrest, provided they have completed at least one month at the Central Prisons’ in-house Inmates Rehabilitation Centre.
Also eligible under the bill are inmates serving time in the open prison and who have joined a detox programme, following the recommendation of the prison’s psychiatrist, for the duration or completion of their programme.
Elderly – over 70 – or sick inmates may also be allowed to serve their sentence under house arrest, for as long as deemed appropriate by a medical council, and with the consent of the attorney-general.
The proposal stipulates that detainees allowed to serve their sentence, or part of it, under house arrest, must wear an ankle bracelet with predetermined locations where the inmate may travel to.
Failure to adhere to the set of predetermined locations, or destroying the bracelet, would trigger an alarm with the police, in which case the police station closest to where the breach of protocol has occurred, would be responsible for locating the inmate, who would then be considered an escaped convict, and returned to prison without a new arrest warrant.
The introduction of ankle monitors for paroled inmates would help address the long-standing issue of overcrowding at the Central Prisons.
Ankle monitors are typically equipped with a GPS locator and an alarm that goes off if anyone tries to tamper with it or steps out of the pre-assigned perimeter.