Electronic monitoring: 'It's not working'

Electronic monitoring: 'It's not working'

Since Story started, we've shone the light on electronic bracelets and monitoring and how easy it is for offenders to taste freedom.

We've been inundated with messages telling us what you've heard, seen or experienced.

Two of those stories really stood out.

"I could easily move it around, and so I would literally just pull my leg and, with the help of a bit of moisturiser, I would just slip it off," says one man, who wished to remain anonymous.

"Just to be able to slip it off and make sure it's still at home, so they think I'm at home, but I was walking around town and going to after-hours parties.

"I would slip it back on, and when I went to community service on a Saturday I had it on my foot. I'd make sure they could see I had it on. But, no, it was way easier than I thought it would be. Absolute joke."

Only once, he said, did a security guard investigate.

"It was a laugh every Saturday morning to hear the stories from all the different people who would show up for community service on that day on what sorts of things they got to do."

Community service, he said, was supposed to last until 4pm but often finished around midday. That left everyone with four or so hours to play, unsupervised, until they had to be home.

"Have four hours of wandering the streets, and I went there with some hardcore criminals."

In fairness, that was 2013. So is this now a historical problem? Has new management sorted it out? No, says concerned family member Allison Edmonds.

"It's extremely outrageous."

A male family member on home detention wearing an electronic bracelet was, by court approval, supposed to live with her. But in April this year he moved out. Nobody called, nobody checked up.

"He was incarcerated on June 9, and still nobody came... from probation or the security company that's supposed to come to check to see where he was," she says.

She finally rang them so they could pick up the bracelet's monitor. No one replied. She only got a response when she finally switched the monitor off.

"I think it was [after] about an hour or so that First Security then came to the house to say, 'Hey where's the person that's supposed to be on home D?' He was quite surprised when I said, 'He's incarcerated and in Mt Eden [prison].'"

He was jailed, but it was nothing to do with the bracelet. He'd been in contact with someone he shouldn't have been.

He's still behind bars, but even last week Ms Edmonds received a letter warning her family member he had to attend probation by today.

"The whole system needs to be looked at," she says. "Obviously it's not working."