Can you press the Golden Buzzer? Electronic Tagging & Bail Monitoring On the 19th of December 2017, I had my first crack at South African Bail Monitoring technology by way of a Judge’s instruction for bail conditions utilizing our patented MDDR (Mobile Device Data Recorder) system. Whilst this had limited success which is normal for
Can you press the Golden Buzzer?
Electronic Tagging & Bail Monitoring
On the 19th of December 2017, I had my first crack at South African Bail Monitoring technology by way of a Judge’s instruction for bail conditions utilizing our patented MDDR (Mobile Device Data Recorder) system. Whilst this had limited success which is normal for anything new, it was the start of a process that would mature into something far greater. Little did I know how that exercise and teamwork with the Hawks would prove to be a test case, and help me to help our country. Fast forward to the SVS platform.
We know that we have an incredibly high re-offending rate! On the 24th of June 2020, the Ministry of Justice said that we had 147 922 detainees with an official prison capacity of 118 572, meaning that we were 29 350 beds short at the time. It is interesting to note this has come down from the 2002 overcapacity of 78,998 meaning that we were some 60 426 beds short. This shows that we need at least 100 000 prison beds to cope with our current worst-case scenario and that in essence, there is no point investing in SAPS and the NPA if we have nowhere to place offenders.
What concerns me is the extreme pressure on the overall system that is well beyond any measure of capacity. Taking into consideration only the countries murder rate which sits at roughly 22 000 murders a year, would indicate that we would need 550 000 beds in order for all 22 000 perpetrators to serve their 25 years jail time, and this is only for murder and none of the other crimes.
This means that regardless of the number of scare tactics, finger-pointing or even rands going towards fighting crime, we simply do not have the capacity to deal with the number of criminals being arrested and prosecuted successfully. This often leads to criminals being granted parole in what seems to be an unnaturally early stage. There are two things that I believe would be paramount to addressing this problem. Firstly, there is the prevention aspect which includes strategies, early warning systems and education and secondly, there is the management of those offenders who are now outside of prison.
What if we built a system to better manage offenders outside of prison with the help of the courts, police, correctional services, family, mentorship and community support?
When my crime prevention unit police partner and friend Craig was shot and killed and I went through my own personal case, it was only after going through the restorative justice program that I learned that the mother of one of the perpetrators visited him month in and a month out, sometimes three times a month until her death. It really touched me because instantly there were now three mothers involved, my mom, Craig’s mom and now the mom of the person who committed the crime. These moms all had one thing in common, their sons had been affected by this and in many ways, they were as much victims as Craig.
Now, someday soon he and his co-accused are coming out and like all murder victim families, I don’t trust that they won’t re-offend. Based on the murder cases that I am involved with, I have a further 123 prisoners currently serving sentences, all of whom all coming out over the next ten years.
What if we could build something to help all moms, supported by the police ministry and correctional services. What if we could further enlist the help of the victim’s families because after all, they need the most protection.
I have had valued independent mentorship my whole life. What if we could have a new “bail monitoring process” that could inject our technology mentorship into the lives that are most at risk.
Why don’t we start at the ‘global best practice’ regarding human electronic offender tagging, and build on this with SVS? What if we could detect human behaviours that are starting to slip into reoffending, or predict bad behaviour and offer support to bring about real change.
In my 83% of KZN farm murders that are relationship-driven, imagine if we could help stop 83% at the point of the relationship and trust breakdown with the court’s help. Through the SVS analytics, we now have the facts that in many cases there was at least one accused who had a criminal record at the very police station where the case of murder was opened. That a staff member was socialising in the wrong circles and in a good few cases the very reason why there was a relationship break down was the fact that the employer had dismissed the individuals for theft, drunkenness, drug use or lack of work attendance.
The system can be effective in holding offenders accountable, protecting victims and enhancing community safety and preventing crimes. These come with important cost savings, particularly when offenders can be safely monitored in the community in lieu of imprisonment or as a mechanism of early release from prison. Focusing thus on the petty criminals at the beginning rather than waiting for them to become violent serious crime offenders.
In fact, imagine if we could expand this to be available on a voluntary basis for people displaying high-risk behaviour such as domestic violence, anger, drug & alcohol abuse, gambling addiction etc. If we could access families far before they get to the court system through prediction, MDDR and Electronic Tagging.
Researchers from Florida State University’s Center for Criminology and Public Policy Research
compared the experiences of more than 5,000 medium- and high-risk offenders who were monitored electronically to more than 266,000 offenders not placed on monitoring over a six-year period.
Electronic monitoring reduces offenders’ risk of failure by 31 percent, but had less of an impact on violent offenders than on assault, theft, drug and other types of offenders. Electronic Monitoring Reduces Re-offence, now imagine what we could do with SVS thinking, collaboration processes and purpose designed technology on a new generational level.
I want to be clear that in no way does this take away the need to go for the jugular on crime, that murders, rapists and those that commit the most heinous crimes should be secured for life for their safety and ours. In no way do we believe that concurrent sentences are justice nor that serving 50% of life sentences is fair. Overall, we want this bail monitoring system to focus on those perpetrators who are entering the system, or at the very minimum, those leaving the system after serving 25 years for having taken one life. This way, we can truly work on a prevention strategy, and keep the limited prison capacity available to house the truly dangerous and worst of the worst perpetrators without compromising on the addressing of more petty crime, which ultimately in most cases comes full circle to end in serious crimes, and is a core passion and dream i have for change for our country.
But, would it be possible to harness these mom’s values, commitment, compassion and hearts, in the form of core technology to replicate and scale as a nation in order to curb petty offenders becoming return offenders, and escalating to more serious and violent crime.
As with any technology or management solution, there is an inevitable cost involved. But, what if, as a country, we initiated a cost recovery NPO financial model that requires offenders to cover the cost of damages done as well as for the technology support and management solutions required. This is not a completely new way of thinking and is done in courts around the world.
Can you or someone you know provide finance for such an endeavour, or are you in correctional services and can provide insight? Can you press the Golden Buzzer in this regard?
Are you a commander that would like to trial a case with the corporation of your perpetrator voluntarily? Naturally, your case would need to be supported by the Police Ministry.
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