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Judges hear about the benefits of electronic monitoring devices

An official shows an electronic-monitoring device at a seminar for judges at a Bangkok hotel yesterday. This device, which is worn around an ankle, has already been introduced for juvenile offenders in some provinces.

An official shows an electronic-monitoring device at a seminar for judges at a Bangkok hotel yesterday. This device, which is worn around an ankle, has already been introduced for juvenile offenders in some provinces.

Electronic monitoring (EM) devices have emerged as an interesting alternative when judges consider punishments for drunk drivers, illegal road racers and other offenders.

At a Probation Department seminar yesterday, about 150 judges learned how the device can be used to administer punishment and what its many benefits are.

The department also noted that the devices could be used to ease prison overcrowding.

But the first judge who issued an EM order for an offender in Thailand focused more on the family benefits of the device and the possibility of it leading to improved behaviour.

"When I decide to impose the EM device on an offender, I focus on the fact that the EM can help tackle social problems," Criminal Court presiding judge Surajit Sriboonma said.

He said drunk drivers were prone to drinking every day and hardly had time for their family.

When such offenders are ordered to wear an EM device and have to stay home, they will automatically spend more time with their family, he said.

"The EM system can be a good way to solve social problems," he said.

"It can change the wearer's behaviour. Instead of hanging out late every night and coming home drunk, the wearer will be home and doing activi?ties with their family members.

"The use of the EM system will return a husband to a wife and a parent to a child."

Thailand has used the device since March in Bangkok and adjacent provinces.

There are just 200 devices currently, but the number will be increase to 3,000 in October when it is launched nationwide.

"When jailing suspects will do more harm than good, EM should be prescribed," Probation Department director-general Ruenvadee Suwanmongkol said.

Nathee Chitsawang, deputy director of Thailand Institute of Justice (Public Organisation), believes the EM devices should be used on female convicts most of the time as women generally flouted the law because of necessity.












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