Letter:Time to abandon tagging

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The Independent Online
There is little evidence to justify a rethink of Labour's previous opposition to electronic tagging ("Labour ready for rethink on tagging", 8 September).

In the first year of the current trials, only 100 offenders were tagged in three large court areas. The Home Office has had to extend the catchment area and the duration of the experiment to increase the number of offenders tagged. The average cost of the first 100 orders was around pounds 18,000, which is 30 times the cost of supervising someone on probation or community service for a similar length of time.

In mid-July, 53 of the 100 tagged offenders were being monitored and three orders had been quashed on appeal. Of the remaining 44 orders, 29 had been completed and 15 revoked. In comparison, 80 per cent of the 46,000 probation orders and 75 per cent of the 48,000 community service orders each year are completed without revocation. There is a strong case for abandoning tagging and switching resources to strengthening more constructive options such as community service, probation and supervision orders.

Paul Cavadino

Penal Affairs Consortium

London SW9