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Last Updated: Monday, 4 October, 2004, 16:13 GMT 17:13 UK
Given a second chance by tagging
by Eric Simpson
BBC News Online, East Midlands

Karl would be in custody if he did not wear his tag
Karl would be in custody if he did not wear his tag
Karl is on bail after an assault in Derby six months ago.

The 18-year-old normally goes out at night with friends, but his freedom has been curtailed by an electronic tag on his ankle.

"It has given me a second chance," says Karl, who must abide by a curfew or face custody for breaking the terms of his bail.

The tag is part of a surveillance system launched by the Home Office's Youth Justice Board in October 2003.

But under the terms of his supervision by the Derby Community Safety Partnership, he can take courses, play football and get training and counselling.

Karl admits he would rather go out with his mates at night, but accepts that tagging has worked for him.

"If I breach the conditions then I will only be hurting myself.

"My mates are fine with it - they get on with their lives and I get on with mine and I can always see them during the day.

Some people need locking up but others just need help
Karl, young offender

"Before I started (the tagging programme) I didn't have any direction and didn't know where I was going.

"It has opened up a lot of avenues for me - football coaching, IT courses, driver training and stuff."

Karen Doyle is a manager with the Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programme (ISSP) which oversees Karl.

She said: "He has taken advantage of almost everything that has been offered to him - including part-time work, gardening for the community, coaching under-12s in football and driving theory."

Rash decisions

Karl told BBC News Online: "Obviously I am not going to lie and say I like it because I would rather go out at night, but I just get on with my life.

"The tag means you don't make rash decisions and you think about things before you act.

The tag is linked to an electronic surveillance box in his bedroom
The tag is linked to an electronic surveillance box in his bedroom

"The tag forces you to be home and don't just shoot out the door every night.

"You have to face yourself and deal with issues and get your life together.

"Some people need locking up but other people don't need locking up they just need help."

Ms Doyle said: "Karl would have been locked up if he wasn't on a tag - and he has achieved a lot of things in the community that he wouldn't have been able to do in custody.

"If you lock these kids up for long enough they will get institutionalised and involved with high-risk criminals."

The Derby programme has dealt with 35 young offenders in the past year- and eight have re-offended.

Ms Doyle said the offences were mostly of a less serious nature.

Karl says his goal in life is to become an entrepreneur and make lots of money: "It has given me a second chance - a chance to get myself sorted - I have learned a great deal."


SEE ALSO:
Tagging move for young offenders
18 Aug 04  |  Scotland
Scheme dramatically slashes crime
03 Aug 04  |  Tyne/Wear
Report backs tagging for inmates
05 Jul 04  |  Nottinghamshire
Q&A: Electronic tagging
14 Jan 04  |  UK


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