Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson has urged the public to share its views on how electronic tagging could be used in new ways to help reduce reoffending and keep communities safe.

The Scottish Government is proposing legislation to bring about a major expansion of electronic monitoring. Changes being explored include the introduction of GPS and alcohol consumption monitoring technology; using tagging as a condition of a community payback order, during release from custody while a police investigation is ongoing or as a bail condition as an alternative to custody on remand; and giving courts the option of using tagging instead of a fine.

Justice Secretary Matheson said: “There will always be crimes where a prison sentence is the only reasonable response but international research backs our experience that prison is not always the most effective way to prevent repeat offending.

“That is why we are considering a major expansion of the way we use electronic monitoring – and we want to hear people’s views on what those changes should look like.

“This is about effective changes that stop people reoffending, make best use of emerging technology and tackle our high rate of imprisonment – all with the aim of doing more to keep people safe.”

Electronic monitoring researcher Dr Hannah Graham, of Stirling University, added: “There’s a pressing need to reduce unnecessary and costly uses of prison in Scotland. What roles new uses of electronic tagging might play in this are central to what the consultation asks people to comment on.

“International evidence shows electronic monitoring can be used effectively without routinely resorting to custody. This doesn’t mean indiscriminate tagging and surveillance en masse, nor does it mean ignoring victims. It means tailoring tagging to be fit-for-purpose, with due regard for all affected.”
Have your say at consult.scotland.gov.uk/community-justice/electronic-monitoring-in-scotland/