Riyadh considering electronic tagging system for prisoners

December 14, 2012

Saudi Arabia is considering a plan that would allow prisoners to be released from jail by wearing electronic tracking bracelets.

The tagging system would be an alternative to incarceration, Ali Al Harithi, the head of the general directorate of prisons, said in a statement on Sunday. “The interior ministry has formed a committee to study the application of the electronic tracking bracelets system,” he said. “It is still in the trial stage and, if successful, will be used as an alternative to time in prison.”

Guidelines on the adoption of the supervision system and use of the bracelets will be issued soon, Al Harithi said.

“King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz has called for various alternatives to prison punishment, and not just one,” he said.

The electronic device attached to the convict’s leg will restrict the movement of the prisoner. The device would be linked to a control room and it tracks the location of the individual through wireless frequencies and GPS technologies. One of the main aims of the system is to reduce the number of prisoners in Saudi jails.

Humanitarian leave

Electronic tagging will also be used on prisoners who are granted humanitarian leave from prison to visit a patient or attend funeral services. The system is widely used in the United States.

The project was started in 1980 to reduce the numbers in America’s overcrowded prisons. Over 100,000 prisoners have benefited from early release. And in the United Kingdom, over 60,000 prisoners have benefited from early release since the system was launched there in 1989.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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