Letter: Tag of honour for tearaways

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The Independent Online
Tag of honour for tearaways

Sir: Your report on the Government's plans to extend electronic monitoring to juvenile offenders ("Electronic tags for children", 9 November) looks like another penal policy fiasco in the making.

Following the failure of experiments in their use with adult offenders, what possible grounds are there for applying these gizmos to those you term "teenage tearaways who vandalise and terrorise communities"? If anything, the tag will become a badge of honour.

It is true that in Sweden - the only other European country to have imported the technology from America - tagging has encountered far fewer problems than has been the case in Britain. This is principally because the Swedes regard the tag as a back-up to social work intervention, not as the be- all and end-all.

STEPHEN SHAW

Director

Prison Reform Trust

London EC1

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