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Plans to track criminals by satellite

Plans to track criminals by satellite

The Justice Secretary has announced that state-of-the-art ankle tags are to be worn by offenders in order to keep track of them.

Chris Grayling also revealed that all community sentences will soon feature some kind of punishment on top of the community service element. The Crime and Courts Bill is set to be modified in order to bring in the new rules, which would see stronger community orders and criminals being tracked by satellite.

However, after the changes were first revealed by the previous Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke, the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) assessment said that the changes might lead to a rise in reoffending if the punitive part of the new plans meant a decrease in the level of rehabilitation requirements. Mr Grayling said: “We’re today putting punishment back into community sentencing. “This is about sending a clear message to offenders and the public that you if commit a crime, you can expect to be punished properly. Community sentences are not a soft option anymore.” But back in March, the MoJ impact assessment said: “For offenders who receive intensive community punishment, there is a risk that re-offending rates may be higher than other community orders if some of the rehabilitative requirements are replaced.” In order to “make community sentences much more effective”, satellite tracking is set to be used alongside fines of up to £5,000 to be issued by magistrates.

“We will use the latest GPS technology to track offenders’ movements, and are giving the courts increased powers to set fines that hit offenders in their pockets and are lifting the cap on compensation orders to provide proper compensation to victims.”

Caroline Dunne, Consultant at IBB Solicitors said:

“These proposals seem almost completely contradictory to the announcement referred to on 22nd October where the Prime Minister, David Cameron, was said to be promoting rehabilitation to those who had received a custodial sentence.

“If sentencing is designed purely to punish until a custodial sentence is imposed this will lead to ever increasing costs within the judicial system.

“Criminal behaviour costs the tax payer and the cost of accommodating someone in a prison cell is expensive; surely rehabilitation at an early stage is beneficial to the community, offender and tax payer.”

We have one of the leading teams of criminal defence specialists in West London and the South East. If you are facing a serious criminal charge, contact a member of the IBB’s Criminal Defence team; call us on 08456 381381 or email enquiries@ibblaw.co.uk.