The Justice Ministry on Monday unveiled new electronic monitoring (EM) wrist-wrapping devices and an EM control centre that can operate around the clock and cover all sites in the world to keep an eye on offenders on parole or on suspended jail terms.
The 4,000 EM devices resemble smart wristwatches. The control centre at the Probation Department in Bangkok will get an immediate alert if the devices are disconnected, tampered with or destroyed or if the wearers breach the probation conditions in any way. This will enable police to take timely action.
The new devices will be ready for use starting January 2019, Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister ACM Prajin Juntong said while presiding over the centre’s official opening ceremony.
The wrist-wrapping EM devices, which use the True, AIS and DTAC networks, are said to be effective even when the parolees are in vehicles or anywhere in the world, including under two metres of water.
The use of the EM as an alternative for imprisonment would reduce the chances of small-crime offenders learning how to commit more serious offences from prison inmates, and give them the opportunity to continue to make a living while remaining with their families and society, provided they adhered to the Probation Department’s conditions, Prajin said.
The Justice Ministry is considering use of the EM devices to also cover offenders under the Corrections Department and the Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection, he said.
The 4,000 EM devices under the Probation Department were rented from a private company for 21 months (January 2019 to September 2020), Probation Department chief Prasarn Mahaleetrakul said.
The EM can cover offenders who must be in the limited zone, who are barred from going out at night or be in areas known for drug-trafficking issues, those on probation for speeding/reckless driving/traffic violation charges, those offenders who are under a restraining order to not be within a certain radius near victims of intrusion, assault or sex crimes, Prasarn said.
The Probation Department had earlier carried out a pilot project to put 246 parolees on the EM devices, he added.