Odisha Proposes GPS-Enabled Ankle Monitoring for Undertrial Prisoners

The Directorate of Prisons in Odisha has submitted a unique proposal to attach GPS-enabled tracking/monitoring devices to the ankles of undertrial prisoners (UTPs), marking a potential first-of-its-kind policy in India.

The proposal focuses on attaching tracking devices to UTPs accused of non-heinous crimes to allow them to lead normal lives outside of jail while being monitored. The devices would be voluntary and require court approval. Law enforcement and jail authorities could track the movements of the UTPs, and tampering with the devices would trigger alarms at local police stations. The move is expected to save government costs and enable UTPs to earn a livelihood upon release.

Why has Odisha proposed attaching GPS-enabled tracking devices to UTPs’ ankles?

This initiative aims to ease overcrowding in prisons, a long-standing issue in the country. This pilot program will only cover prisoners accused of non-heinous crimes, allowing them to lead normal lives outside jail while being monitored.

What is the occupancy rate in Indian prisons, and how does Odisha compare in terms of overcrowding?

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, Indian prisons have an occupancy rate of around 130%. Although Odisha doesn’t face severe overcrowding, major prisons in the state have been affected, prompting the pilot program proposal.

How will the proposed system work, and what safeguards are in place?

The system involves fitting monitoring devices on UTPs’ ankles with their consent and court approval. These tamper-proof trackers will alert local police stations if tampered with, ensuring compliance and monitoring.

How does this initiative benefit both the government and UTPs?

Chhabra highlights cost savings for the government, estimating around Rs 1 lakh per UTP annually, while UTPs can reintegrate into society, earn a livelihood, and await trial outside prison.

What concerns have human rights activists raised regarding this proposal?

Human rights activists are concerned about potential privacy breaches and the legal implications of ankle monitoring for UTPs.

How does Odisha’s proposal compare to practices in other countries?

The USA and the UK are cited as examples of countries that have implemented monitoring devices on convicted prisoners, emphasizing that the proposal aims to free UTPs rather than confine them.



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