Electronic monitoring has been widely available in Scotland since 2002. Following a consultation in 2013, and subsequent Scottish Government response, an Expert Working Group was established to consider how electronic monitoring could be better used within the criminal justice system in Scotland, and to align it with existing efforts to aid desistance, support integration, protect victims, support public protection and help reduce further offending.
The aim of the Working Group was to:
Take forward a range of activities designed to increase awareness of current provisions, improve current guidance, identify and affect improvements where required and identify and implement opportunities for greater integration in support of both the desistance journey and public protection.
Following which, provide Scottish Ministers with options and recommendations for:
- improving the current electronic monitoring service for public protection & rehabilitative purpose
- reducing the use of short term custodial sentences
- the use and effectiveness of new technologies
- longer term desistance from crime
- combining with other professional interventions and supportive measures aimed at the social reintegration of people with convictions.
Recommendations would be mindful of the need for risk-based approach and the use of appropriate risk assessment tools.
The Working Group first met on 10 November 2014, with the membership of:
- Sheriff Cubie, Judicial Institute for Scotland
- David Denny, Managing Director, G4S Monitoring Technologies & Services Scotland
- Nigel Ironside, Scottish Prison Service
- Calum Martin, Head of Parole Unit
- James Maybee, Social Work Scotland
- Karyn McCluskey, Violence Reduction Unit
- Temporary Detective Superintendent Gail Johnston, National Offender Management Unit
- Professor Mike Nellis, Strathclyde University
- Peter Conlong, Scottish Government, Justice Analytical Services.
Sheriff Cubie stood down from the Group meetings but has continued to receive all papers and correspondence.
The following members joined during the lifetime of the Working Group:
- Angela Smith, Service Director, G4S Monitoring Technologies & Services Scotland, replacing David Denny
- Louise Johnson, Scottish Women's Aid
- Colin Spivey, Head of Parole Unit, replacing Calum Martin
- Representatives from Police Scotland's Specialist Crime Division
- Representatives from the Centre of Youth and Criminal Justice.
The Group was Chaired by Arlene A Stuart, Head of the Community Justice Operational Unit, Scottish Government and policy and secretariat support was provided by Scottish Government Officials.
Based on the results of the consultation, as part of its work-plan the Group set up four sub-groups to consider:
- the end to end process and non-compliance
- EM as a tool to assist in rehabilitation and reintegration
- a review of the existing guidance.
The work undertaken by the end to end process, rehabilitation and reintegration and communications sub-groups have informed the information and recommendations contained within this report. The guidance sub-group has completed its work and has reviewed already published revised guidance.
This work is set against the Scottish Government's vision for fairer justice for victims and people with convictions in Scotland; moving towards a society where those who have been involved with the justice system as victims of crime can feel safer and more reassured and those with a history of offending realise their aspirations and be supported to be active, responsible contributors to our communities as fellow citizens.
That vision reflects the values of a modern and progressive nation:
- in which prison (and in particular short-term sentences) are used less frequently, recognising where prison remains absolutely necessary for public safety
- where there is a stronger emphasis on robust community sentences focused on actively addressing the underlying causes of offending behaviour leading to the prevention and reduction of further offending
- where public safety and the protection of victims of crime is prioritised.
The Working Group recognised that there is on-going policy consideration relating to the presumption of short term sentences and have not commented in this report on that matter. Members of the Working Group held divergent views on any extension of the current presumption period and did not reach a consensus view.