The Community Probation Service of the Department of Corrections is currently inviting registrations of interest from suppliers of security surveillance systems for home detention, where non-violent prisoners are allowed to stay in their own homes instead of being kept in prison.
The new system is scheduled to start nationwide in May 1999.
A photo-based pilot system has been running in Auckland since 1985 for parolled offenders. Visitel videophone units are dialled at random times by a computer-controlled system. When the offender answers they hear a recorded message and open a lens on the side of the phone, which captures their image and transmits it to a security company.
Operations adviser Annette Crequer says technology has developed and prices dropped since the pilot was instigated, so other options like tracking bracelets and even GPS (global positioning systems) technology are now standard technology.