The Department of Probation yesterday affirmed its plan to begin using electronic monitoring (EM) bracelets on thousands of people who are either convicts on probation or defendants released on bail.
Director-general Vittawan Sunthornkajit said the first batch of about 3,000 bracelets would be used from Sept 11 on three groups: criminal suspects released on bail, prisoners whose remaining prison terms have been suspended by royal pardon and drug addicts detained for 30 days to 45 days and who are still awaiting classification as addicts or dealers.
Initially, the department prepared up to 30,000 EM devices for use in this probation programme but because a large number of prisoners had previously been pardoned and released from jail early, only about 3,000 devices were currently needed, Mr Sunthornkajit said.
The department has hired 30,000 EM devices for three years at a cost of 800 million baht. They are equipped with 4G network-based tracking technology, which allows 24/7 tracking of the person wearing it and would be monitored by the Justice Ministry’s EM device control centres around the country. If the device is removed or damaged, it sends signals to alert authorities.
The bracelets are normally worn around the ankle and have a highly durable and long-lasting battery. Mr Sunthornkajit said tests have shown it isn’t easy for the wearer to remove or break it.
The department plans to open its EM bracelet control centres next Tuesday for a final trial before it actually begins using the bracelets on those 3,000 people, he said.
About 2,000 of them are inmates who are being released early and put on probation. They will have to wear the device for just one month, while most of the others will have to wear the device for about two and a half years.
Mr Sunthornkajit expects the monitoring bracelets to ease the problem of prison overcrowding and allow those on probation to resume a normal daily life and work to support their families.