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Governor endorses ‘electronic tags’ for non-violent prisoners

Governor endorses ‘electronic tags’ for non-violent prisoners

Governor John Rankin, who shares portfolio responsibility for prisons with the Minister of Health is hoping that electronic tags will be implemented for non-violent inmates being housed at His Majesty’s Majesty’s Prison in Balsam Ghut.
Rankin gave that indication during a press conference on Tuesday where he highlighted several challenges facing the facility. One of those challenges is the extended period persons spend on remand while they await trial in the local courts.

Admitting that this is “a challenge”, Governor Rankin said: “We need to make the court procedures as efficient as possible and we need the police and prosecutorial services and the defence lawyers to assist in that progress,” Rankin stated.

But as reforms are executed in the judiciary, Rankin said electronic tags for inmates could also be beneficial.

“One of the areas on which I would wish to see progress … would be to see if we can have electronic tags in the territory, which would allow some of those who are currently on remand — if they are not potentially dangerous prisoners — to actually be at home with electronic tags rather than having to spend time in prison which may not actually be helpful to their own development,” Rankin told members of the media.

However, he described the implementation of these tags as a costly venture which would have to be budgeted for. He noted that those financial decisions are ‘out of his hands’.

The prison launched an ankle monitoring pilot programme back in prison 2016 but based on all indications, that programme bore little to no fruit.

Staffing and welfare problems

Meanwhile, according to the governor, other challenges highlighted at the prison include staffing and welfare issues.

“The UK government has provided new mattresses and basic materials to allow the welfare of the prisoners to be increased. And yes, there are problems in relation to the numbers of prison officers and I hope that they can be resolved through — first of all — increased recruitment into vacancies,” Rankin stated.

He noted that his office is engaging with the government’s Human Resources Department “to confirm the appointments and promotions of prison officers”.

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