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Expanding tagging sentences 04/10/2016 The Scottish Government is to continue to expand the use of electronic tags to help reduce reoffending levels and keep communities safe

Expanding tagging sentences

The Scottish Government is to continue to expand the use of electronic tags to help reduce reoffending levels and keep communities safe, Justice Secretary Michael Matheson announced this week.

New projects will use electronic monitoring – including GPS tracking in addition to the current radio frequency technology used for home detention – to monitor people as part of their sentence. The Government will also look at how electronic monitoring could be used ahead of sentencing in cases where the crime would be unlikely to result in a custodial punishment.

This expansion of electronic tagging would be used in addition to community payback orders and other measures to tackle a person’s offending behaviour, while providing the added security of restricting their movements, says the Government.

The announcement follows the publication of advice from a panel of experts, and international research.

“The overwhelming message from the experts is that Scotland could significantly reduce reoffending by better use of electronic tagging and emerging monitoring technology,” said Mr Matheson. “I welcome all of the recommendations the panel has made and am determined that we seize this opportunity to reduce crime even further and make our communities safer.”

Stirling University criminologist and electronic monitoring researcher Dr Hannah Graham, who carried out the report studies, also welcomed the recommendations.

“Tagging and curfews alone don’t address the underlying reasons why people commit crime, so the working group’s recommendations are welcome for how they emphasise integration with rehabilitative supports to help leave crime behind,” she said. “There is a disproportionately high rate of people on remand in prison in Scotland. The recommendation to introduce electronic monitoring as an alternative to remand opens up extra opportunities to address this issue by closely monitoring and supporting more people in the community pre-trial, without losing sight of the need to ensure public safety.”

Further details are available here.

 

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