Electronic tags found to be faulty

Electronic tags found to be faulty

The Department of Probation is told to seek compensation or consider scrapping the contract after the Justice Ministry's fact-finding panel found its electronic monitoring devices to be highly faulty. (Bangkok Post photo)
The Department of Probation is told to seek compensation or consider scrapping the contract after the Justice Ministry's fact-finding panel found its electronic monitoring devices to be highly faulty. (Bangkok Post photo)

The Department of Probation has been told to seek compensation or consider scrapping the contract after the Justice Ministry's fact-finding panel found its electronic monitoring (EM) devices to be highly faulty.

Thawatchai Thaikhiew, deputy permanent secretary for justice, said the committee has highlighted three areas of concern regarding the tracking devices for those on probation.

Based on the findings, the devices can be easily removed from and put back on again manually; some wearers report skin irritations, rashes and even infections on their wrists; and authorities have been inundated with alerts.

So far this year, the 200-700 people per month have been required to wear monitoring devices with probation authorities receiving up to 100,000 automated tampering alerts and up to 170,000 warnings of signal failures.

He said the high number of alerts has seen the authorities raise questions about the devices' effectiveness and the authenticity of the alerts.

However, Mr Thawatchai said the defects do not point to irregularities in the department's procurement of the monitoring devices, but do indicate that terms and conditions have not been met. 

The findings have been reported to justice permanent secretary Wisit Wisitsora-at, he added.

"The department has been instructed to take appropriate legal action. It may consider demanding compensation or an annulment of the contract," he said.

The alleged defects came to light this month when Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin witnessed the tests and saw how easily the EM bracelets could be removed from the wrist.

The tests followed a complaint from a losing bidder that the chosen devices could be easily removed using water and soap. The electronic monitoring of offenders is part of the Department of Probation’s policy to ease overcrowding in prisons.


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