Pregnant women or women with children under 24 months and people with serious diseases could receive the benefit of wearing an ankle bracelet and serve their sentence out of prison if legislators approve the bill to allow the use of electronic devices to monitor offenders.

Legislator Elibeth Venegas confirmed that the bill is moving fast through the legislative process, receiving approval on Wednesday by the Comisión Plena Tercera, with the power to pass laws without going to the full Assembly.

The law would also permit the use of ankle bracelets in cases of probation or conditional release, the power being with a judge to order the use of the electronic device.

Venegas said the law would even give the benefit to those with offences for rape and murder, though stressing she is not in agreement with.

The use of an electronic device seeks to reduce prison overcrowding. By way of a monitoring centre operated by the Dirección General de Adaptación Social del Ministerio de Justicia, that will be responsible to report any breach.

The Ministro de Justicia, Fernando Ferraro, said in January that the project would be finaned in part by a US$132 million dollar loan for prisons by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

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