Despite claims of its potential to protect us from serious crime, we run risks if we get hooked on mass GPS tracking, argues Catherine Heard
You might have noticed that our work has been getting some media coverage recently. An analysis of government spending data by our Research and Policy Assistant, Matt Ford, published on 25 June, was picked up by a number of news outlets.
The analysis found that G4S and Serco are still being paid millions for providing electronic tagging equipment to the Ministry of Justice, despite being under criminal investigation for overcharging when they ran the contracts.
The Ministry of Justice is continuing to pay controversial security firms G4S and Serco millions of pounds a month for electronic tagging, more than a year after both companies were supposedly banned from delivering such work. The revelation comes following an analysis of Ministry of Justice data by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, published today.
Our Research and Policy Assistant, Matt Ford, points out that the Ministry of Justice is still paying huge amounts of public money to G4S and Serco for providing electronic monitoring
Writing in The Guardian, Deborah Orr comments on 'Sobriety tags' due to be trialled in four London boroughs. She explains that given the relationship between drunkeness and arrests, and the lacklustre performance of prisons in acheiving their aims, or indeed providing a humane environment for prisoners, the devices 'offer punishment and opportunity in a way prison rarely does'.
Our director Richard Garside appeared on Going Underground, Russia Today's UK current affairs programme, talking about absconding prisoners, electronic monitoring and criminal justice privatisation.
Richard argued that the vast majority of prisoners did not need to be held in high security conditions and that open prisons should be the rule rather than the exception.
He also said that far fewer people abscond from prisons in England and Wales now than was the case a decade ago.
Private outsourcing company Serco is to be investigated by the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee, The Guardian reports. The investigation comes after the company was forced to disclose a secret internal report revealing evidence that it failed to investigate properly a claim of repeated sexual assaults by one of its staff against a female resident at Yarl's Wood immigration detention centre.
The Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, has announced that the 'corporate renewal plan' embarked on by private security firm G4S 'represents the right direction of travel' to meet the government's expectations as a customer.
The March 2014 issue of Criminal Justice Matters is now available and contains a series of articles exploring the use of electronic monitoring (EM) in the UK and abroad.
Guest editor, Professor Mike Nellis, of the University of Strathclyde considers the role of the private sector in dispersing 'offender surveillance outside the boundaries of a recognisable criminal justice system'. Reflecting on the articles in this issue of cjm, Mike warns that;
A day after Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said that G4s may still be prosecuted over claims that it overcharged on electronic monitoring contracts, the company has announced via its website that it is to repay £108.9 million to the Ministry of Justice.
The company's Chief Executive, Ashley Almanza, said: