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Prison Service Director Defends Controlled Probation

The director of Finland's Prison Service defends the practice of controlled probation for convicts of serious crimes. Triple murderer Nikita Joakim Fouganthine was recaptured last weekend after absconding from his period of controlled probationary release. Director Esa Vesterbacka told the YLE Radio News programme Ykkösaamu that controlled probation is particularly important for those who have served long prison terms for homicide. Vesterback says it's better to allow those convicts freedom gradually, rather than set them on the streets straight from prison. He adds that controlled probation helps convicted felons adapt to society. Furthermore, those who committed serious crimes can be more closely monitored than others, if need be. 100 Convicts on Controlled Probation in 2007 Last year, around 100 convicts were released on controlled probation. Only five broke conditions of release. Vesterbacka says the system has worked well. However, he adds that improvements could be made. Currently, those on controlled probation are monitored with the help of a mobile phone. Instead, they could have a surveillance device attached to their ankle or wrist, which would immediately sound an alarm if tampered with. However, the devices are more expensive than mobile phones. Police confirmed on Sunday that triple murderer Nikita Joakim Fouganthine was recaptured after absconding from his period of controlled probation. He received a life sentence in Sweden for killing three people in 1988. YLE Triple Murderer Recaptured

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