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Nearly 8000 offences by tagged criminals

And 1000 of these crimes are violent. One murder, four manslaughters, fifty six woundings and more than seven hundred assaults, one hundred cases of possessing an offensive weapon, one incident of causing death by reckless driving, one hundred of obstructing police and sixteen other violent attacks have been carried out by criminals since the early release Home Detention Curfew scheme came into force.

Overall 7,896 offences had been committed by prisoners whilst tagged. A total of 131,000 have been given HDC between the start of the scheme and the end of June 2006, but there is little effect on the 2 year reoffending rate from this scheme. Today’s report said there is "insufficient evidence" that tagging helped to reduce re-offending or rehabilitate criminals. This scheme was introduced to deal with an earlier prison overcrowding crisis - offenders serving between three months and four years are eligible to be released on an electronic tag up to 135 days before the end of their sentence.

The one murderer - Danny Cann, 27, a convicted robber - killed Stephen Cox in North London in January 2005 by battering him to death with a baseball bat and a hammer in revenge for a headbutting, only weeks after walking out of jail on HDC. He was jailed for life at the Old Bailey last December. Cann should have been wearing the tag at the time of the murder but was not. It has never been found.

None of these crimes would not have been committed, if these criminals had been in prison. Furthermore, it is more evidence that non-custodial sentences do not work; we do not have any evidence to show that reoffending is decreased, and the fact remains that nearly 8,000 reported crimes would not have been committed if these criminals had been in prison for the full length of their sentence. Schemes such as these are not a solution to prison overcrowding - the only solution being building more prisons, well before they are needed.

Interesting that the figures have not been announced in a press release on the Home Office website. You can rest assured we will be returning to this issue in more detail, even if the Home Office are not happy to.

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