A new report on electronic monitoring has been published by the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research at the same time as Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson MSP announced the Scottish Government’s future vision for the use of tagging technologies at a conference in Perth.
The Scottish and International Review of the Uses of Electronic Monitoring, authored by Dr Hannah Graham and Professor Gill McIvor of the University of Stirling, concludes that electronic monitoring is more effective in reducing re-offending when it’s integrated with professional supervision and other support options as these promote rehabilitation. The review highlights evidence and examples from different countries to demonstrate how tagging technologies can be used as an alternative to prison.
Graham and McIvor also discuss new electronic monitoring technologies in the report and whether there’s evidence to support their introduction in Scotland. Those technologies include Global Positioning System (GPS) tagging and tracking, ‘away from’ restrictions and two-way ‘bilateral’ monitoring technology that can detect if a tagged offender is in the vicinity of a victim or a restricted area, as well as tags that can monitor alcohol use.
The researchers find that ‘one size doesn’t fit all’, meaning that the use of electronic-based tagging and curfews should be tailored in response to the people, crime type and circumstances involved.
*Download a copy of the full report here
Response from G4S
In response to the research, David Byrne – G4S’ lead on electronic monitoring technologies – stated: “This research is a welcome addition to the debate on the use of GPS technology in offender monitoring. Our experience in other countries backs up the report’s findings which say that GPS should be tailored and appropriate to the people, crime type and circumstances involved.”
Byrne continued: “The technology can be applied in many different ways to manage offenders who pose varying levels of risk to the public, but ultimately it must enhance public safety and help to prevent people from becoming the victims of crime. Our own agreement with the Scottish Government was set up to support the use of GPS technology and we look forward to playing a full part in their review and any programmes which may follow on directly from that.”
Prior to this announcement, Byrne had written a blog about the applications of GPS technology and G4S’ work supporting other law enforcement agencies around the world.
The Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research is a collaboration of several Scottish universities. It aims to produce excellent research and develop excellent researchers so as to better the development of policy, practice and public debate about crime and justice.
Though based in Scotland and determined to analyse and address crime and justice in the country, its work is international both in terms of its influences and in its own influence.
The Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research works for, with and through fellow academics, policy makers, practitioners and others involved with justice all over the world, believing that Scottish criminology and Scottish criminal justice has much to learn from as well as much to teach others.