Electronic tagging to prevent prisoners absconding is being considered. *AFP photo
Electronic tagging to prevent prisoners absconding is being considered. *AFP photo

FRIDAY, JULY 20: Prisoners on work release from jail could be electronically tagged, a Minister signalled yesterday.

The possibility has arisen following a review into prisoner work release programmes, conducted after a convicted sex offender with a history of violent crime went on the run.

Shane Todd — who failed to return to prison after being allowed out of jail to work on a farm — has not yet been charged in connection with the incident.

A spokeswoman for Attorney General and Minister of Justice Kim Wilson confirmed that electronic tagging to prevent prisoners absconding is being considered.

The spokeswoman said: “The Attorney General and Minister of Justice confirmed today that the day release and work release programmes will undergo a further assessment.

“As it relates to using electronic monitoring as part of the day release and work release programmes, the minister said that she is committed to taking a full and wholesome look at the overall initiative and will consider all reasonable options to ensure that the programme works as efficiently and effectively as possible.”

For his part, Commissioner of Prisons Lt Col Edward Lamb sought to put the Todd incident in context: “The abscondment... was a very rare incident from what is a hugely successful work release programme at the Prison Farm.

“The success of the programme is directly related to the robustness and thoroughness of the selection process for eligible inmates.”

Paraphrasing William Shakespeare, Col Lamb added: “One absconded inmate does not a failed programme make.”

Police confirmed yesterday that Todd, who has a history of serious and violent crime, had yet to be charged in connection with his failure to return to the Prison Farm in St George’s.

The missing inmate sparked a police hunt after he failed to report back on Friday, June 29.

He spent nine days on the run before being recaptured by police in the Summit View area of Hamilton Parish on Saturday, July 7, after a tip-off from a member of the public.

Todd was in 2005 convicted of a 2004 sex assault on a 17-year-old girl while she tried to protect her disabled aunt after he broke into their Paget home.

An hour later, he threw a 61-year-old woman down the stairs of her Warwick home after tricking his way into her home.

He ended up in a violent struggle with two elderly women who were visiting the 61-year-old and later led police on a high-speed chase which ended in Hamilton Parish after he hit another car and smashed into a wall.

He was jailed for a total of 15 years.

Supreme Court heard that Todd, now 36, who pleaded guilty to the charges, was a paranoid schizophrenic and a drug addict who had been on opiates for eight days prior to the terrifying attacks.

Then-Chief Justice Richard Ground, who ordered that Todd be treated for his mental disorder while behind bars, said it was only a matter of luck that his victims had not been more seriously injured.

Todd was classified as a low-risk prisoner and suitable for a work release placement to prepare him for a life outside prison. He was due to have been considered for release in 2015.