New ways to improve public safety proposed

Management of Offenders Bill laid at Scottish Parliament.

New electronic monitoring technologies which can better protect victims of crime form part of the Management of Offenders Bill published today.

If passed by Parliament, the bill will allow the use of GPS and other technologies to improve the effectiveness of electronic monitoring. Currently, people are monitored in the home using radio frequency technology. The use of GPS will enable the use of exclusion zones that can offer victims significant reassurance and respite.

The bill also includes proposals to reduce the amount of time people will have to disclose certain convictions to better enable them to gain employment, as well as simplifying and modernising processes for the Parole Board.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson, who introduced the bill, said:

“The expansion of electronic monitoring increases the options available to manage and monitor people serving their sentence in the community. Our justice reforms have delivered large reductions in reoffending and I am determined to build on the progress made. It’s our duty to ensure victims see that people who are convicted of an offence are held to account, and they can be assured by the opportunities that electronic monitoring can offer, including in future the use of exclusion zones.

“Changes to the length of time people will have to disclose their convictions can make a huge difference to those who genuinely want to turn their lives around. Gaining employment is often crucial to enabling people to turn away from crime and make positive contributions to the their families, communities and the wider economy and society. This is a key part of breaking generational cycles of offending behaviour in order to reduce reoffending to help keep crime down and communities safe.”

Dughall Laing of Recruit with Conviction said:

“We fully support proposals to improve conviction disclosure periods for employment. It will strike an effective balance between the rights of employers to know about relevant convictions whilst allowing individuals the opportunity to move on from their past.

“Improving legislation alone will not develop pathways to safe, suitable and sustainable employment. However the proposals do create new hope for more people with convictions to sustain changes they have made and represent a progressive step to creating a more equitable labour market.”

Nancy Loucks, Chief Executive of Families Outside said:

“We welcome the increased scope for use of electronic monitoring in the new Management of Offenders Bill. Electronic monitoring offers a valuable tool for reducing the use of imprisonment. Prison fractures families, whereas with the right support in place, electronic monitoring can keep families together, thereby maintaining social supports and reducing the risk of further offending.”

The Management of Offenders (Scotland) Bill, and accompanying documents including Policy Memorandum can be read on the Scottish Parliament website.


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