Monday, September 24, 2012

Tag you're it...

One of my previous jobs was fitting tags to people released from prison but who were essentially supposed to be on some form of curfew overnight. It wasn't a great job and I didn't stay with it long, the equipment was fairly naff and could be easily fooled by someone with a bit of tech savvy. No I never fitter a tag to anyone with an artificial leg either, just in case you're wondering if that was me.
Putting electronic tags on criminals has cost taxpayers £1billion over 13 years – but leaves them free to commit crime by day, according to a study.
Outdated technology, ten times more expensive than that used in the US, means offenders are unmonitored when not under curfew at home, says the think-tank Policy Exchange.
It is calling for new tags to monitor criminals’ every movement using GPS technology. Around 80,000 offenders are tagged every year, including former prisoners released early and criminals serving community sentences.
This was something actually pointed out to the people in the Home Office as well as the companies fitting the tags over 10 years ago. A tag merely (if used properly) had to remain within 30 foot of a monitoring station during a certain period of time, the monitoring station sent out an alarm via a landline to a call centre and the authorities were supposed to swing into action to pick up the out of curfew miscreant. What it didn't do is tell anyone where the miscreant was if out of curfew and it didn't stop any form of criminal activity during the times when the miscreant was allowed out of the house. Those tagged were given a phone number to ring if for some reason they couldn't be home, but the real kicker was that even those who set off an alarm were rarely if ever tracked down to see what they were up too anyway.
The system was expensive, difficult to monitor properly and the staff poorly motivated (and paid) and this was over 10 years ago so why it's taken them this long to admit it I don't know, unless it's one of those things the coagulation has finally got round to looking at as a legacy of the previous government.
Considering just how far the technology had moved on it would be simple to use GPS tags along with some sort of system to prevent people going where they aren't allowed (shops, leisure activities etc)
I expect however it will still take another 10 years to sort out another useless system though...

5 annotations:

banned said...

Tagging was always about pretending to us that criminals were being punished when they were not; why would they be bothered whether the system worked properly?

All thst prisoners care about is whether or not they get a "walk", ie anything other than prison time.

The only way that a criminal reforms is when he realises that he does not want to go to prison again and the best way to help him come to this conclusion is to bang him up young and bang him up often.

Macheath said...

Good point about GPS; if retailers can put traceable tags into high-end clothing it should be easy to incorporate the technology.

Should there, I wonder, also be something to prevent wearers gathering with known associates?

One of the less appealing features of my local town is the group of men who hang around the burger van in the high street, most of them with tags proudly displayed below 3/4 length trousers whatever the weather - tagging must have done wonders for sales at the 'sports' shop up the road.

Dioclese said...

If we just hanged the bastards, then we wouldn't need to tag them.

Woman on a Raft said...

below 3/4 length trousers

It must look like a Bay City Rollers convention.

Anonymous said...

The most perfect way would have been to fit a special tag which, if moved more than 30 feet away from the receiver, caused a small explosive charge to blow the foot off. They would only do it twice at the most!