Parolees may soon get electronic tags

2011-07-25 16:01
Johannesburg - Prisoners on parole may soon start wearing bracelets with electronic tags to monitor their movement, the correctional services department said on Monday.

"We are looking at the end of the year to start piloting this," departmental spokesperson Sonwabo Mbananga told Sapa.

He said this would be part of the department's efforts to increase its monitoring capacity of parolees.

"It will be used as part of a basket of tools that will be used to encourage the judiciary to divert more and more prisoners to correctional supervision," said Mbananga.

Two feasibility studies have already been conducted and the department had looked at how this was being done in the New York correctional services department.

Best system for SA

Mbananga said one could use ankle or wrist bracelets fitted with an electronic tag.

"The whole purpose is that it needs to be able to pick up at any given time where you are. The objective would be that it [the bracelet] is not removable, and if it is removed, it would be a breach of parole conditions."

He said there were different technologies available on how to monitor the parolees' movement.
It could be done through radio technology, cellphone networks or satellite technology.

"The government is in the final phases now of identifying which technology would work best in South Africa."

He said the "inaugural" electronic tagging system would be piloted on "those offenders serving life sentences and currently being considered for placement on parole by Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, following a directive by the Constitutional Court with respect to lifers sentenced before 1 March 1994".

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