The Seychelles Prison Services is planning to introduce electronic ankle bracelets in 2023 to better monitor inmates while also giving those on special prison programmes a degree of freedom.
Planning is set to begin in early 2022 with a pilot project beginning in 2023.
“These bracelets will allow us to keep track of inmates who are working as part of our various rehabilitation programmes as well as those who have been released with strict conditions by the court,” the prison superintendent, Raymond St Ange, told SNA recently.
This technology will allow prison officers to know the exact location of the inmate and to quickly be alerted if they are in an area where they are prohibited to go. It will also allow for people to be sentenced to house arrest as they can easily be monitored.
The bracelets are devices that are tethered around the ankles and are designed to be tamper-resistant and must be worn at all times. The device uses a radio frequency signal to communicate back to a monitoring station.
Electronic ankle bracelets are being used in countries around the world, and St Ange has said that this technology will also help in reducing the number of inmates at the Montagne Posee prison. 
“We know that we do not have infinite space at the prison and so this will allow us to limit the number of people being held at the prison, especially those who have been sentenced for minor offences and who do not pose a threat to the public,” St Ange said.
He added that the programme is part of the Prison Services and the Ministry of Internal Affairs plan to introduce advanced technology to its services, which will help reduce the manpower needed.
While the technology has been welcomed by some, it has also received criticism. One criticism is that the electronic monitoring of a person does not physically restrain this person from leaving a certain area, nor does it prevent this person from re-offending which is the primary aim of probation.
Furthermore, the public perception of home detention is that it is a form of lenient punishment.
“There is a lot of work that needs to be done in order to get this technology to work here since we have to make changes to the laws as well as agree on a budget. We also need to work on the best way to use it and the selection of what type of criminals will be allowed to be fitted with the bracelet,” said St Ange.
The Seychelles Prison Services will hold discussions with other prisons in the region as well as in Europe and the United States, where the experiences of these countries will help Seychelles to find the best way to adapt and use this technology.
The discussions will allow Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, to get the best deals and find the right supplier, while also get help in training the officers on how to use this technology, added St Ange.

Source: Seychelles News Agency