• STV
  • MySTV

Young offenders 'should be put on electronic tag instead of prison'

Professor Mike Nellis believes using electronic tags as alternative to prison sentences of under six months would cut re-offending.

Tagging: Criminal allowed two days of freedom.
© STV

Young criminals should be tagged as an alternative to prison sentences of six months or less, according to a top law academic.

Professor Mike Nellis, who advised penal reform group Howard League Scotland on its response to a government consultation on electronic monitoring, believes the move would help reduce re-offending.

Similar initiatives in Scandinavia have proven effective at giving young people a second chance and cutting the prison population.

The Scottish Government has been consulting as its new contract with G4S includes contract with G4S includes the capacity for satellite tracking, making the system more effective.

Nellis said: "There are areas of the world using standalone electronic monitoring as a way of reducing, or stabilising, the prison population.

"The Swedes, Danish, and Norwegians have all done so. What they will say is that they have stabilised the prison population and stopped it rising.

"And if you take Denmark, they may well say that they have reduced the prison population for under-25s."

Denmark has a presumption against jailing under-25s for less than six months, a model which Nellis would like to see adopted in Scotland.

He added: "We should think about using monitoring in the context of supervision, as an alternative to short sentences, like Scandinavian countries do."

The Scottish Government tried to introduce a presumption against sentences of less than six months during the last parliament but had to compromise on one against less than three, following opposition from Scottish Labour and Conservatives.

It has said it has no intention of introducing a new presumption against short sentences, with tagging as an alternative.

However, Nellis held seminars last year on the Scandinavian models at Strathclyde University, which were backed by the government.

"I think Scotland should at least have a debate about how we relate electronic monitoring to a reduction in short sentences, given that we say we want to reduce short sentences," he added.

One piece of research from Sweden suggests there would be some benefits.

The research compared medium risk offenders who received intensive supervision and electronic monitoring with a similar risk group who did not. The monitored group had a re-conviction rate of 27% over three years, compared to 42% for the others.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.