Scottish Government
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Electronic Monitoring

Working group to examine possible improvements to current service

A new expert working group has been set up to explore opportunities around the use of electronic monitoring of offenders in Scotland.

The move is part of a series of actions by the Scottish Government in response to the Development of Electronic Monitoring in Scotland consultation.

The Scottish Government’s consultation found that, while electronic monitoring was a valued and well-established feature of the criminal justice system in Scotland, more could be done to raise awareness of and take forward improvements to the current service.

In response to a number of concerns raised by respondents, the working group will also carry out a study into the effectiveness of GPS and Remote Alcohol Monitoring technologies to ensure they are fit for purpose before any decisions are made about their future use.

The group, which will include organisations including the Judicial Institute for Scotland, Social Work Scotland, Police Scotland, G4S, Scottish Prison Service, the Violence Reduction Unit and Academia will hold its first meeting in early November.

Its remit will be to:

  • Raise awareness of the use of electronic monitoring and identify opportunities for greater use
  • Undertake a review of current guidance for policy areas currently using electronic monitoring as a tool
  • Explore how other jurisdictions have used electronic monitoring for different groups of offenders
  • Assess the use of GPS as a tool for electronic monitoring, identifying any potential limitations and comparing the use, cost and effectiveness of this method compared with radio frequency monitoring
  • Explore the possibility of introducing alcohol monitoring in Scotland and assess any potential opportunities and limitations of such equipment

As well as the development of this group, the Scottish Government will:

  • Develop an electronic monitoring eLearning package to provide comprehensive and user-friendly information to those involved in the criminal justice system
  • Engage with the Scottish Prison Service to explore what the current barriers for home detention curfews are and how they can be overcome to allow offenders better transition back into the community
  • Work with the Judicial Institute for Scotland to develop understanding and build confidence within the judiciary on the use of electronic monitoring as a disposal
  • Ensure victims interests remain at the heart of any development, including close working with the Scottish Government’s Equally Safe Strategy for Preventing Violence Against Women and Children

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said:

“Evidence has already shown the huge value electronic monitoring can have on rehabilitating suitable offenders and reducing reoffending, but this consultation has provided a vital insight into how it can be developed for the future.

“The establishment of a working group, which will meet for the first time in November, will increase understanding of the capabilities of the technology and explore whether it can be developed to address other types of offending behaviour.

“On the face of it, GPS technology appears to offer potential opportunities for the management of sex offenders or to be used in cases of domestic abuse. However, some concerns have been raised into the effectiveness of this technology so I want the new expert group to carry out thorough testing and make recommendations to the Scottish Government to allow us to consider whether it is suitable for use on any offenders in Scotland.”

Notes To Editors

The full Scottish Government response to the consultation can be found at:http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2014/10/7132

 

Channel website: https://www.icaew.com

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