Government set to introduce electronic tagging system for prisoners

Government publishes White Paper on the introduction of an electronic tagging system for prisoners  

Electronic tagging will allow the prison authorities to know where the individual is at all times
Electronic tagging will allow the prison authorities to know where the individual is at all times

The government has published a White Paper that will explore the introduction of an electronic tagging system for prisoners. 

This tagging system will serve as an alternative penalty where the circumstances allow it. 

“We’re coming here and making this proposal because we believe that it's in favour of a just society, but especially of a safer society,” Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri said.

During the launch of the public consultation on Tuesday, Camilleri said that the electronic tagging option would be given in three scenarios: either on the order of the court in minor crimes, for prison leave reasons as decided but the Correctional Services Agency, or for parole decisions decided by the Parole Board.

He explained that the White Paper seeks to address two aims: facilitating the reintroduction of criminals into society while allowing for peace of mind to victims of crime and the community at large.

The electronic tagging system would also allow for leeway in court sentences, whereby if the court feels that it is fair, it could order an alternative penalty where they serve a sentence away from prison.

Part of the conditions for electronic tagging would mean that persons subject to tagging would be able to go to work or continue their studies physically while still serving their sentence.

However, electronic tagging will not be allowed for crimes in connection to the following:

  • Domestic violence
  • Gender violence
  • Cases where the individual is registered under Article 3 of the Protection of Minors Act.
  • An order of maintenance issued by the court or a contract that has not been adhered to
  • An order for access to children by the court or a contract that has not been adhered to.

“Without doubt, a person should pay for their behaviour. But we don’t believe that they should lose out on opportunities,” Camilleri said. 

Examples of crimes that could be subject to electronic tagging use are crimes relating to VAT, light injuries, or driving unlicensed vehicles.
Stakeholders have until 25 May to make their submissions to the public consultation.

Last month, MaltaToday reported that the government is considering the use of electronic tagging to help ease pressure on the prison facility, currently struggling with an overpopulation problem.

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