Tagging those on bail can happen today with Ministers signature – Naughten

In Older People by Denis Naughten

tag.bbc33 burglaries a week committed by those on bail while tags gather dust

“The laws are in place and the electronic tags are ready to be used, all we required is the signature of the Minister for Justice, to help stop marauding gangs from terrorising communities” Denis Naughten has told the Dáil.

“A total of 33 burglaries every week have been committed by individuals freed on bail over the last five years, yet 50 electronic tags continue to gather dust awaiting action to implement an existing law that was passed by the Dáil in 2007 and endorsed on review by the Law Reform Commission just last year”.

Denis Naughten  told the Taoiseach that “at present the State is forking out €140,000 per year on a contract for 50 electronic tags which remain in storage awaiting the commencement order for Section 11 of Criminal Justice Act 2007 that would allow them to be placed on those who are on bail awaiting a trial date”. 

“Based on an analysis by An Garda Síochána, a quarter of burglars commit three quarters of all the robberies in this country. Therefore targeting this group of repeat offenders by tagging them while on bail will have a significant impact on the number of burglaries being committed,” stated Denis Naughten. 

“The Criminal Justice Act 2007 contains specific provisions to allow for the electronic tagging of those released on bail and the Department of Justice has been reviewing plans for the  commencement of this provision in law since 2009, yet we are still waiting to see action.

“The most disgraceful aspect of all this is the fact that the Irish Prison Service has been pro-active and forward thinking by having the tags available. They are now forced into paying €140,000 a year for them, while waiting for movement on the laws to tag those on bail and high risk sex offenders after their release from prison. It just shows that we have a 19th century Government and public service structure for a 21st century economy.

“Isn’t it time that we had a bit of joined up thinking and started to get the basic things right so that we can protect vulnerable people from the ravages of thugs that are too willing to prey on them.”


Editors Notes:

See Denis Naughten question the Taoiseach on the tagging scandal here:

Dail reply on cost of electronic tags:

Tuesday, 12 May 2015 

Department of Justice and Equality 

Irish Prison Service 

Denis Naughten (Roscommon-South Leitrim, Independent)

402. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the total cost in 2014 and to date in 2015, respectively, of the electronic tagging programme; the number of persons on remand and on conditional release, respectively, with an electronic tag; the number of persons on the sex offenders register with an electronic tag; the total number of electronic tags available, and in use, within the justice system; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18368/15] 

Frances Fitzgerald (Minister, Department of Justice and Equality; Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)

Following a competitive tender in 2014, Chubb Ireland was awarded the contract for the supply of electronic monitoring of prisoners for the Irish Prison Service. The annual cost of the contract will depend on the number of prisoners who are monitored throughout the course of the year. 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 30th April 2015 is €34,119. 

As I have previously explained, 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. It thus allows for a reduction in staffing costs for hospital escorts. In considering any prisoner for temporary release, under the specified conditions relating to the management of the electronic monitoring process, public safety remains the primary operational consideration. In this context there are 4 offenders on conditional release with an electronic tag.

The Sex Offenders Act 2001 contains a comprehensive series of provisions aimed at protecting children and other persons. Part 2 of the Act makes persons convicted of a range of sexual offences subject to notification requirements, often referred to as 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. 


Explanatory memorandum to accompany the Criminal Justice Act 2007:

Electronic monitoring of certain persons admitted to bail.
Section 11 inserts a new section 6B in the Bail Act 1997. It allows
the court to make a recognisance subject to the condition that the
person be monitored electronically. This possibility will be available
to the court where: (i) a person charged with a serious offence is to
be admitted to bail or a person is appealing a sentence of imprisonment
imposed by the District Court; and (ii) the court considers that
it is appropriate to impose conditions that the person reside or
remain in a particular district or place in the state or that the person
refrain from attending at certain premises or other places. Where a
recognisance is made subject to a condition as to electronic monitoring
‘‘an authorised person’’ will be responsible for monitoring
Evidence of electronic monitoring.
Section 12 inserts a new section in the Bail Act 1997. New section
6C is a standard provision concerning the admissibility of documentary
Arrangements for electronic monitoring.
Section 13 inserts a new section 6D in the Bail Act 1997. New
Section 6D allows the Minister, with the consent of the Minister for
Finance, to enter into such arrangements including contractual
arrangements, as he or she considers appropriate for the operation
of electronic monitoring.

Law Reform Commission Review of Criminal Justice Act 2007 : http://www.lawreform.ie/_fileupload/RevisedActs/WithAnnotations/HTML/en_act_2007_0029.htm

E-mail from Oireachtas Research Service:

Date: 21/10/2015 09:10
Subject: Fw: Criminal Justice Act 2007

Deputy Naughten,

I refer to your query below on whether sections 11,12 and 13 of the Criminal Justice Act 2007 have been enacted.

The Criminal Justice Act 2007 was enacted on May 9th 2007, but the sections you refer to have not yet been commenced and still require a commencement order under section 1(2) of that Act to come into operation.

Oireachtas Library & Research Service