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Russia's Federal Penitentiary Service (FPS) will introduce electronic tagging to monitor
Russia's Federal Penitentiary Service (FPS) will introduce electronic tagging to monitor offenders in mid-2008, a service official said on Wednesday.

"In mid-2008, the electronic tags will arrive in Russia. The FPS requested European Commission funding and was provided with a 3 million euro grant," Fyodor Ruchkin told RIA Novosti.

He said the three-year experiment will allow Russia to determine whether or not the tagging system has potential for further investment and widespread use across the country.

Alexander Sidorov, the FPS chief spokesman, said Russia would test two tagging systems. A simple system, involving 150 tags, which will allow an offender to move within a specified distance from a tracking station, while another more complicated system will employ satellite and GSM tracking to monitor criminals.

Electronic tagging is widely used in the U.S., the U.K., Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia and some other countries. The system is seen as an alternative to prison while restricting the freedom of offenders and protecting the public.

It is also viewed as a method to reduce ever rising prison overcrowding, as well as providing cost benefits. According to figures from the U.K. Home Office sending someone to prison for a year costs the state around 24,000 pounds ($48,000), while tagging costs just 2,000 pounds ($4,000).

Russia has the second highest prison population in the world after the United States, at 685 inmates per 100,000 population.


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