4th October 2016

The Scottish Government has announced plans to radically expand the use of tagging for offenders in Scotland. The proposals would see sobriety and GPS tags introduced, and electronic monitoring used as an alternative to remand.

The SCCJR’s Dr Hannah Graham joined a discussion on the topic on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland (listen here from 01:06:40), in which she said: “Electronic monitoring and tagging, when used as part of community-based supervision, can be used effectively and ethically to reduce re-offending and to prevent remand in custody or imprisonment in cases where that might otherwise have been imposed”.

She added: “Scotland has one of the highest incarceration rates in western Europe, we’ve got a very high rate of remand, and we need to look at complementing the existing alternatives so that people can be managed in the community.”

She highlighted the potentially devastating consequences of being placed on remand, adding that “some vulnerable people could be closely supervised with a tag, by community services or social workers in the community”.

Dr Graham and Professor Gill McIvor were commissioned by the Scottish Government’s expert working group on electronic monitoring to carry out research into the use of the technology, Their report, Scottish and International Review of the Uses of Electronic Monitoring, highlighted evidence and examples from different countries to demonstrate how tagging technologies could be used as an alternative to prison.

Criminal Justice Process and Institutions