What future for electronic monitoring?

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Last week we held a symposium on the future of electronic monitoring of those under a criminal justice sanction in England and Wales.

The symposium heard from Dr Hannah Graham, from the University of Stirling and Professor Mike Nellis, from the University of Strathclyde.

Dr Graham spoke about the Scottish experience of electronic monitoring, as well as international evidence on impact and effectiveness. Professor Nellis spoke about how electronic monitoring might be used, and about the risks of its inappropriate use.

The symposium was held a week before the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee published a damning assessment of the government's failed attempt to introduce a new generation of GPS-enabled tags. The 'overly ambitious, overly complicated and... poorly delivered' programme had been 'a catastrophic waste of public money', the Committee concluded.

Last July, Professor Nellis called on parliament to investigate the tagging fiasco, in a report we published assessing the troubled programme.

We are currently working with Professor Nellis, Dr Graham, and others on a series of publications and interventions intended to reset the public and policy debate about the possibilities, and limitations, of the electronic monitoring of those under a criminal justice sanction.