Electronic Monitoring on Bail (EM bail)
17 November 2020
Electronic Monitoring on Bail (EM Bail) is available for suitable defendants and young people (12- 17 years of age) who would otherwise continue to be held in custody, in prison, or in the instance of a young person in a youth residence, while they wait for a court hearing. The defendant and young person are considered innocent until found guilty at a trial.
EM bail requires a person to remain at an approved address at all times and be monitored by Corrections for up to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Other conditions attached to their bail may allow a defendant permission to leave for approved purposes, such as to attend court, medical appointments or in some cases employment /education.
For an EM bail application to be granted, judges must be satisfied that the public, witnesses, victims, and the people who will share the address are safe from the defendant or young person.
Before an application for EM bail is granted, judges must take into consideration advice provided by a probation officer (who has assessed the defendant or young person, the proposed address and any people who live there). Judges will also look at:
- whether the defendant or young person may fail to appear
- whether the defendant or young person may interfere with witnesses or evidence;
- whether the defendant or young person may offend while on bail.
Shared Service Model EM Bail
Corrections and New Zealand Police (Police) jointly managed EM bail under a shared service model. This means that:
- all applications filed from 13 January 2014 will need to be made on the revised EM bail application form.
- for all new applications, a probation officer or bail support officer will assess EM bail applicants and induct the defendant. The central EM Bail Team at Corrections will manage the 0800 EM BAIL line, liaise with the monitoring company and be the central point of contact for the defendant.
- for all young people who apply for EM Bail, the probation officer or bail support officer will complete the assessment in consultation with the Oranga Tamariki youth residence worker or youth justice social worker, visit and assess the proposed address, and complete an induction (with a social worker in attendance). The central EM Bail Team at Corrections will manage the 0800 EM BAIL line, liaise with the monitoring company and be the central point of contact for individuals subject to EM bail..
- Police will continue to be responsible for:
- responding to any instances of non-compliance with EM bail (i.e. breaches) and undertaking all enforcement action
- managing all other non-electronically monitored bail conditions (i.e. non-association conditions).
How EM bail works
When the defendant is at home, the electronic anklet sends a continuous signal to a monitoring unit installed at the defendant's residence. The monitoring unit in turn sends real time information to a control centre, letting the security staff know that the person is where they’re supposed to be.
When the defendant is away from their home address the electronic anklet uses GPS (global positioning system) to send real time data to the monitoring team to show a defendants current location at all times.
Conditions defendants must follow
Along with electronic monitoring as a condition of bail, a defendant may also have other conditions attached to their bail including:
- living at an approved address
- working at an approved place of employment/education
- not associating with certain people
- not moving to a new residential address unless approved by the Court
- not consuming alcohol or drugs.
In all cirumstances the defendant must contact the EM Bail Team at Corrections if they want to plan some time away from their approved address. The EM Bail Team will tell them what to do and what happens next.
Approval is not automatic and will be at the discretion of the EM Bail Team.
Holding defendants to account
EM bail does not stop a person leaving an agreed zone, but if a defendant doesn’t follow the rules we call this non-compliance and treat it very seriously.
If a defendant breaks a rule, an alarm is raised and police respond. The defendant may be arrested and have to appear before the Court who will decide whether EM bail should continue.
Benefits of EM bail
- Sometimes a defendant can continue working and contribute positively to their family.
- For a young person it can mean they can continue with their education, attend training and stay connected to their family/whānau.