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Sex offenders will be electronically tagged, just not yet

At present there is no provision in the Act for the electronic tagging of sex offenders.

THE STATE IS paying out €102,000 per year for electronic tags for prisoners.

According to a parliamentary question by Denis Naughton to the Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, the Irish Prison Service currently has 10 electronic tags.

There are four offenders on conditional release with an electronic tag.

Naughton said a contract for a further 50 tags pushes the total annual cost to €102,000.

Following a tendering process last year Chubb Ireland was awarded the contract for the supply of electronic monitoring of prisoners for the Irish Prison Service.

Monitoring prisoners 

The annual cost of the contract will depend on the number of prisoners who are monitored throughout the course of the year, said the minister.

However, she said it is expected that the average monthly costs of the contract will be in the region of €9,500, excluding VAT.

The total cost of the provision of electronic tagging in 2014 was €73,961. For 2015, the total cost as at 30 April 2015 is €34,119.

Source: Denis Naughten/YouTube

Naughton is critical that the law does not yet extend to tagging high risk sex offenders.

The law to allow for the tagging of high risk sex offenders, after their release from prison, has been in the planning for nearly five years yet is still waiting to see the light of day.So instead of these tags being used to make our streets safer for women and children, they are gathering dust while we wait and wait for the new law.”

While he acknowledged that Fitzgerald is committed to reforming the law in this area , he said it is not getting the priority it deserves.

I have raised the matter directly with An Taoiseach and was told that we would see the new law just after Easter, but we are still waiting.I’m now urging the Government to make our streets safer by putting this law to the top of the Dáil agenda.

In answering Naughton’s question, the justice minister explained that the electronic monitoring is mainly used by the Irish Prison Service to monitor prisoners who have been granted temporary release from prison to attend as hospital in-patients.

This reduces staffing costs for hospital escorts, she said.

Sex offenders 

Fitzgerald said the Sex Offenders Act 2001 contains a comprehensive series of provisions aimed at protecting children and other persons, which includes being on the sex offenders register.

At present there is no provision in the Act for the electronic tagging of sex offenders. Provisions have been included in the General Scheme of the new Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill, which will amend the Sex Offenders Act, to allow for the electronic tagging of sex offenders in certain circumstances. The Bill is scheduled for publication during the current parliamentary session.

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