Officials back electronics to guard some prisoners

Executive branch officials were at the legislature Wednesday supporting a bill that would provide for electronic devices instead of prison to keep track of criminals.

They are Fernando Ferraro, minister of Justicia y Paz, and Marta Iris Muñoz Cascante, director of Defensa Pública. They appeared before the Comisión con Potestad Legislativa Plena Tercera.

The prisons are 33 percent over populated and 55 percent of those are between 18 and 35, lawmakers were told. Each convict costs the state $42 a day, said Ferraro. He said that by using electronic devices the daily cost could be cut to $15.

The Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo is ready to underwrite a trial project with 200 convicts,

The officials supported using this system for persons held before trial and for woman who have children at home. The likely candidate would be someone sentenced to no more than six years, they said.

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