Electronic monitoring

The Department uses two types of electronic monitoring, Radio Frequency (RF) or Global Positioning System (GPS) to monitor the offender’s compliance with the conditions of their sentence or order.

RF monitoring is specifically used to monitor the offender at their detention address. It is predominantly used for community detention.

GPS monitoring can be used to monitor the whereabouts of the offender whether they are away from their address or at home. It is used for: extended supervision orders (ESO), parole, home detention, electronically monitored bail, temporary release, release to work, and Child Youth and Family monitored offenders.  

Dependant on their conditions, the offender is either fitted with a RF or GPS tracker. The tracker must be worn 24 hours a day, seven days a week during their sentence or order.

A monitoring unit is also installed at the offender’s address and in some cases their place of employment. The offender’s tracker is registered to the unit and together they monitor the offender’s presence or absence.

Both RF and GPS monitoring provide real-time monitoring of the offender, which allows early detection of non-compliance.

The Department contracts global company 3M to install and remove the electronic equipment and to manage the monitoring centre. Your probation officer is the person at Corrections who manages your sentence from start to finish.

In some cases, the probation officer may approve the tracker to be temporarily removed – for example air travel or admission to hospital.

How GPS works

GPS monitoring specifically enhances the Department’s ability to monitor an offender’s compliance with special conditions relating to their whereabouts eg, not to enter schools, parks, licensed premises etc.

The places that an offender can and can’t go match their special conditions about their whereabouts as imposed by the New Zealand Parole Board. The offender may have zones where they cannot go – these are called exclusion zones. They may also have zones that they must stay in at certain times – these are called inclusion zones.

The Department will know if the offender goes where they should not go, or if they leave places they should not leave. The movements are recorded by a monitoring system, and a monitoring centre in New Zealand is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week to monitor the offenders on GPS and respond to any alerts.

The offender location information gathered from GPS monitoring can be used in evidence of the commission of offences and the Department is able to provide this information to the relevant enforcement agency if requested eg, NZ Police. 

Working while on electronic monitoring

Some offenders may be given approval to work, but not all types of employment are suitable.

Offenders are unlikely to be able to take or continue employment that:

  • has casual hours or an on-call/standby requirement
  • is related to the offender’s offending
  • occurs where the tracker may interfere with on-site equipment
  • requires the offender to be away from home for more than 24 hours
  • requires the offender to carry out any activity that may damage the tracker.

Taking care of the tracker and home monitoring unit

Unsuitable activities

Some activities are not suitable for you to take part in while you are wearing the tracker because of the risk of damaging the tracker or hurting yourself or others.

Some locations might be unsuitable for you to visit such as hospitals where the tracker may interfere with on-site equipment. Even if you have an approved absence for sporting activities, there are still limits on the types of things you can do.

Unsuitable activities include:

  • water sports (water skiing, surfing, diving, etc)
  • contact sports (rugby, league, soccer, hockey, kick boxing, etc)
  • flying (civil aviation regulations require removal of the tracker before flying).

Damaging the tracker or monitoring unit

If the tracker or unit is damaged the offender may be required to pay for its repair or replacement. Offenders will be liable if:

  • they take part in an unsuitable activity without seeking approval
  • they continue an activity that has been assessed as unsuitable
  • the damage is considered to be caused intentionally by the offender or someone else.

Trying to remove the tracker or breaching their conditions

If an offender tries to remove the tracker, or leaves their electronically monitored address without the approval of their probation officer, an alert is triggered at the monitoring centre and a field officer will be dispatched to their address. In some cases police could be called and may arrest the person.