By SANCHESKA BROWN
Tribune Staff Reporter
HOUSE arrest or mobility restriction should be mandatory for persons being electronically monitored, ICS manager Gari Gonzalez said yesterday.
In a press release, the company, which is responsible for monitoring offenders put in the Electronic Monitoring Programme by the courts, said most of the people who commit criminal acts while wearing ankle bracelets do so by “exploiting the ability to roam free.”
“As such, we believe that the Courts should establish for each device-wearer a combination of inclusion zone, exclusion zone and curfew that must be strictly adhered to as a condition of receiving bail or probation. With this requirement, the person being electronically monitored would be confined to their home parameters and restricted from entering specified areas,” Mr Gonzalez said.
“This would result in far greater compliance by those wearing the devices. As importantly, the Police would be positioned to react quickly if someone violated the specified zones or curfew – thus preventing criminal behaviour from being pursued or acted on.”
Currently, Mr Gonzalez said there are about 400 offenders being monitored at this time and more than 90 per cent of them are compliant with their bail conditions. He said the remaining 10 per cent are immediately dealt with by the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
“Although there are offenders who are bent on challenging the law by way of their behaviour, we are encouraged by the efforts of our Police Force on a daily basis. We are, therefore, even more assured that this programme has become a key component of our overall Crime Management and Crime Prevention initiatives and also aiding in the relief of prison overcrowding here in the Bahamas,” Mr Gonzalez said.
“We have a sincere passion for this programme and a deep belief in its ability to reap the results that this country so seriously needs in terms of offender management and control along with the management of the prison population. The programme has come a long way in three years and three months but that’s still a very short time for something of this magnitude to take firm root and blossom into the foundation its design to grow to. There remains a very long road ahead and we remain committed and focused as we forge ahead.”
Minister of National Security Dr Bernard Nottage as well as Minister of State Keith Bell have repeatedly criticised ICS over its handling of the electronic monitoring programme.
In fact Dr Nottage said last year that “the ankle bracelet monitoring system is not worth the money the government has invested in it.”
However, Dr Nottage announced last month that the government has extended ICS’ contract.