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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 April 2005, 11:55 GMT 12:55 UK
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Monday, 25 April 2005

As a Team Manager in a Youth Offending Team, tagging or any of the alternatives to custody pose a real dilemma. Whilst custody does not have a great record of rehabilitating young offenders, we must always be mindful of enforcing boundaries with young people. As it stands at the moment many young people know that breaching an electronic curfew made as an 'alternative to custody' rarely results in them being taken into custody. Either the tagging provider never bothers to report the breach or the courts never keep to their promise of 'Breach this curfew & you will go to custody.'
What we are therefore doing is simply mirroring the ineptness and lack of authority of the young people' parents who have never provided appropriate boundaries despite warning after warning. It is hardly any wonder that young people take little notice. I am not against tagging; it proves effective with many young people. When this effectiveness is harmed, however, and the whole system brought into dispute when it is used casually and flippantly and rarely enforced.
Again we are sending a message to these young people that we will behave in much the same way as their parents and ignore our responsibilities. This does make life extremely difficult for people like me who try and explain duties, responsibilities and consequences. We are undermined by other parts of the system.
Andrew White, England

My brother has been out of prison since March. He got tagged and had a few problems with the box. Then another group took over the security company running his tag. That very same day he had a new tag fitted and it fell off. They arrested him and said he had been tampering with his tag. He rang them up straight away to say it had fallen off. Why would he have waited this long to mess with his tag? He had no court apperance but just went straight back to prison. Where is the justice? He had been not been going out past his curfew.
Mrs Lowe , Lincolnshire

I work installing telephone lines for the tag system. We are not given any information on the offenders. As a result, I recieved a hypodermic needle stick injury whilst fitting a line and suffered six months of misery, waiting for test results to confirm I had not cought Aids or Hepatitis. I still have nightmares about the problem.
B Stewart, England

I watched the programme on tagging and since seeing it I decided that I disagree with tagging. I think the way forward to stop these young offenders breaking curfews or trying to undo the taggs would be to insert electronic chips into the skin of the criminal which can then be monitored by a satellite. This may be an expensive process but would certainly stop the process of removing the tag.
Christopher, United Kingdom

I'm watching the Real Story programme now, and want to comment from experience of working with young offenders on the Intensive Control and Change Programme. Of course some offenders breach their tags, but I did work with some who didn't - some who gained a great deal from the programme. The tag is only one part of the order, but it is the hardest part for them. Some offenders are totally unsuited to a tagging order, and are obviously not going to succeed. Some do, though, and it really does depend on how keen they are to put crime behind them, and how well they are supported in their personal lives.
Unfortunately, the equipment does malfunction, and offenders are well aware of shortcomings in the technological efficiency of the companies. I believe that tagging orders benefit many for whom prison has not worked, because they are subject to a whole programme of which tagging is merely a part. However, the companies have to get their act together and tagging has to be administered and monitored efficiently, which certainly isn't the case now.
Joy Archer, UK

Has no-one thought about micro-chipping criminals? They do it to animals. Is there a way that criminals could remove the microchip? It would be no more painful than a flu jab! It could contain all the relevant information necessary to keep the criminal under control.
Sarah Boyson, UK

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