Scotland politics

Electronic tagging rule change approved

electronic tag Image copyright Science Photo Library

Holyrood's justice committee has agreed to overturn a decade long ban on tagging offenders who have previously breached community sentences.

It means prisoners could serve the last quarter of their sentence under a system called home detention curfew.

The subordinate legislation was approved at the second time of asking.

The committee refused to do so last week after Legal Affairs Minister Annabelle Ewing was unable to provide statistics to support the proposals.

Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell, the committee's convenor, had accused Ms Ewing of being "totally unprepared" when she appeared before the committee last week.

Ms Ewing returned to the committee on Tuesday morning with the statistics that had been requested, and the committee agreed to approve the changes.

Recalled to custody

Home detention curfews have been used in Scotland in 2006 and allow prisoners, mainly on shorter sentences, to serve up to a quarter of their sentence - for a maximum of six months and a minimum of two weeks - on licence in the community, while wearing an electronic tag.

The licence requires prisoners to remain at a particular place for a set period each day. Prisoners who fail to comply with the curfew or other licence conditions can be recalled to custody.

The aim is to help the offenders reintegrate into society once they have served their sentence.

The Scottish government is also proposing a radical extension of the ways electronic tags can be used on offenders, which could see sobriety tags, GPS tracking and tagging as an alternative to remand used for the first time.

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