Government to introduce electronic monitoring in lieu of prison for petty offenders

The Government has presented a bill to introduce an electronic monitoring system for people convicted of petty crimes and who are given an alternative sentence by the court instead of being sent to prison.

Minister Camilleri said that this system gives reassurance to the community and to victims of crime, while offering rehabilitation to people who will be able to work or study.

A bill regulating the use of electronic movement monitoring devices is proposing that those convicted of petty crimes are tracked electronically instead of sent to prison. This device may also apply to prisoners released from prison on parole or prison leave.

At a news conference, the Minister of Home Affairs, National Security and Law Enforcement, Byron Camilleri, explained that electronic monitoring applies to an effective prison sentence of up to one year, and in respect of offences which does not carry a maximum punishment in excess of two years imprisonment.

However, it is also being proposed that people convicted of domestic violence; gender-based violence; pedophilia; those who fail to pay maintenance or who do not comply with court orders on child access be excluded from this system.

The draft proposes that the electronic monitoring order may also be issued in the case of a restraining order, a temporary protection order or guarantee. In these cases unlike others, the consent of the person concerned is not required.

Minister Camilleri said that this draft was drawn up after a long national consultation and builds on what was proposed next May.

“I believe we will come up with a system that offers more security to our communities, that offers more peace of mind to the victims. A system that will help more in the rehabilitation of people, especially those guilty of petty crimes and will also help the prison population “, said Minister Camilleri.

The bill states that electronic monitoring devices may be issued by court order; by the Correctional Agency’s CEO in cases of prison leave; and from the parole board.

It proposes that in the event that a person is caught tampering with or removing the electronic monitoring device such would constitute an offence which carries a term of imprisonment between six months and two years.

Minister Camilleri said that this bill has yet to go through the parliamentary process before becoming law. Meanwhile in the coming weeks the Ministry of Home Affairs, National Security and Law Enforcement is expected to issue a call for tenders for the monitoring equipment.

PN: once again the Government is being reactive

In response, Nationalist Party spokesman Beppe Fenech Adami said that the Government was again reactive to the proposals put forward by the Nationalist Party on the use of electronic monitoring of prisoners in our country.

The PN described this legislation as a small step forward and reminded that the prison was operating at double the capacity it was intended.

He appealed to the government to immediately address the major problems in prison today.