12 May 2020
Electronic tagging of defendants is being introduced in Jersey this week, as part of a range of measures agreed by the Criminal Justice Working Group (CJWG).
Electronic Monitoring (EM) will be used for defendants who are on court bail, as an extension of existing bail provisions, to enhance public protection and safety. Monitoring defendants electronically can safely reduce the number of defendants that need to be remanded in prison while they await their court appearance.
The use of EM has been under consideration for some time, but the Covid-19 pandemic has prompted the States of Jersey Prison Service (SOJPS) to plan for worst case scenarios. The contingency plans include reducing, where safe and appropriate, the prison population, to be ready in the event that any Coronavirus cases reach the prison.
The 11 month pilot scheme will monitor the bailed defendants’ movements and ensure they are adhering to any conditions set by the Court – for example curfew times or restrictions on where defendants can go and who they can see. The CJWG is not, at this stage, considering the use of tags for suspects on police bail, or for convicted defendants serving community sentences.
Detective Superintendent Stewart Gull said: "The purpose of using EM (tags) is to ensure that Court-imposed bail conditions are being respected by defendants whom the Court might otherwise not trust sufficiently to release on court bail. The tags provide an additional safeguard for Islanders, witnesses and complainants.
"I am pleased to confirm that we successfully fitted the first EM tag yesterday under Court bail conditions, to ensure the defendant abides by curfew and location restrictions."
Judicial Greffier, Advocate Adam Clarke, said: "The use of Electronic Monitoring provides an extension to the powers already available to the Jersey Courts. This pilot scheme is a joint initiative agreed by all members of the Criminal Justice Working Group."