19 February, 2013
GPS monitoring for release-to-work prisoners
Corrections Minister Anne Tolley has announced that GPS monitoring of offenders is to be extended to include prisoners on release-to-work schemes.
Low security prisoners will be electronically tracked while travelling between prisons and their workplace, as well as on the job, and swift action will be taken if they stray into designated exclusion zones.
Initially, up to 40 offenders at Hawkes Bay Regional Prison, Spring Hill Corrections Facility, Rolleston Prison and Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility will have ankle bracelets fitted to allow real-time monitoring while they are working outside the wire.
Prisoners on release-to-work schemes are generally employed in labouring industries within a short distance of the prison.
“Release-to-work schemes are already in place at our prisons around the country, and research shows they reduce reoffending by over 16 per cent,” says Mrs Tolley.
“They help with prisoners’ reintegration back into the community, result in fewer crimes and fewer victims of crime, and play an important part in reaching our target of reducing reoffending by 25 per cent by 2017.
“By using GPS technology, low security prisoners who wouldn’t normally be considered for the scheme will now be able to gain employment experience prior to the end of their sentence.
“As with all prisoners on release-to-work schemes, the prisoners considered for GPS monitoring will be carefully screened to ensure public safety is not compromised.
“Recently introduced 24-hour GPS monitoring of high-risk offenders on extended supervision orders or on parole with special conditions has already proven to be a valuable tool for Corrections, and a strong deterrent for offenders tempted to breach their orders.
“So far, 6 offenders monitored by GPS have been identified in exclusion zones and action has been taken against them. Before the introduction of GPS tracking, these breaches would have gone undetected.
“Offenders are being held accountable for their crimes, and at the same time our expanded education, skills training, employment and addiction programmes are helping rehabilitate, and then reintegrate prisoners to put a stop to the vicious cycle of reoffending.”