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A small electronic monitoring device. PA Archive via Press Association Images

Electronically tagging 59 prisoners last year cost the State €116,000

A total of €116,000 was spent on the system last year.

ELECTRONIC TAGS WERE used on a total of 59 prisoners last year, costing the State a little over €166,000.

The prisoners were tagged while on temporary release. Some were used as part of the community return scheme which allows prisoners to return to their neighbourhood for a short time and then return to prison. The system is also used to monitor some hospital in-patients who have been granted temporary release from prison.

In response to a parliamentary question by Fianna Fáil’s justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan, it emerged that some tags were used 4,616 times, involving 59 prisoners at an average cost of €36 per use.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said the current contract allows for the provision of up to 50 electronic tags to the Irish Prison Service. He said the contract includes the supply of the electronic tagging devices, fitting and removal of the tags on the prisoner with a monitoring and reporting service.

Laws to allow electronic tagging as a bail condition have yet to be fully implemented. Last year, it emerged that 13% of all crimes were committed by people who were out on bail.

The use of tags is already par for the course in other countries.

In the US, such tags are used as a means of monitoring non-violent offenders given the nature of its correctional system which is vastly over-populated.

In the UK, tags are used as means of enforcing curfews on people facing criminal charges throughout the duration of trial proceedings. The use of tags has been in place for almost 20 years in Britain.

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