The home ministry has transferred 20 inmates to house arrest and island arrest under a pilot tagging project.
The inmates were released with an electronic tagging device attached to their ankle, which will send out a signal if he or she steps out of a restricted area.
Home ministry media coordinator Thazmeel Abdul Samad told Minivan News today that a local company called Telvert Maldives won the bidding process for the project and will be handling technical issues with the device, while the police, military, the Maldives Correctional Services will be monitoring the inmates.
Thazmeel said tagging would prove effective in preventing convicts released on parole from engaging in criminal behaviour.
“This device is a reminder not to commit crimes again. Inmates will be more hesitant [with the tag],” he said.
The tagging device will sound an alarm if the inmate steps out of the designated area while a receiver in his home will immediately alert the company.
Thazmeel said an official agreement will be signed with the company in the near future to carry out the tagging project.
Home minister Umar Naseer announced last year that inmates will be categorised into four groups based on security risks. The inmates in the least dangerous category will be tagged and released for work and study programmes with the electronic tags.
In addition to undergoing a security screening, Naseer said they will also have to be nearing the end of their sentence.
“They will have to do one or the other [work or study]. If they are working, we have to know where they are going. We also have to know the exact route they are taking. Through the tag, we can track which streets they are walking on,” he said.
The home minister previously said the tags have been tested during his trip to Singapore.
In May last year, Naseer said older inmates or inmates nearing the end of the sentence will be housed in an open jail on a separate island.
Inmates in category two will be allowed to work on the industrial Thilafushi island, and the most dangerous criminals or category one criminals will continue to serve their sentences behind bars in Maafushi prison.
The open jail is to be established on an uninhabited island. The government will provide modest shelter, run a mosque, and establish an administrative office and a security post. The inmates will cook for themselves and be self- sufficient, but will not be allowed to leave the island, Naseer said.
Updates on the open jail project were not available from the ministry at the time of going to press.
The reforms will reduce the prison population from 1,000 inmates to 300 or 400 inmates, the home minister said.