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Scots lose sight of early release offenders due to faulty electronic tags

Donald Melanson, @donmelanson
December 31, 2007
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We haven't yet heard of any problems with the RFID tags increasingly being used to monitor inmates in prisons, but it looks like the electronic tags used to keep watch on early release offenders are decidedly less reliable, at least according to a recent investigation into the matter in Scotland. As The Scotsman reports, out of a total of 987 tagging orders issued, there were 285 incidents where the tags failed, with dead batteries the biggest culprit. That rather obvious problem accounted for 185 of the cases, with damage to the unit by the offender, problems with the black box in the offender's home, and a weak signal rounding out the technical difficulties. That, as you might have guessed, has lead some to question the Scottish government's practice of relying on electronic tags to monitor early release offenders, but the government seems to be sticking to its guns, with a spokesman saying that "a breach does not necessarily equate to reoffending," although, as the Scotsman reports, it did recently scrap a plan to tag suspects who were allowed out on bail.

[Photo courtesy of The Daily Mail]



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