Why electronic surveillance monitoring may not reduce youth crime

  • Written by Darren Palmer, Associate professor, Deakin University
Why electronic surveillance monitoring may not reduce youth crime

Last week, the Victorian government announced a new surveillance monitoring scheme directed at young criminal offenders aged 16 and older.

Under the legislation to be introduced later this year, the Youth Parole Board will be given the power to decide if offenders should be required to wear an electronic monitoring device and undergo regular drug and alcohol testing after serving their sentences.

While elements of this proposal would be new for Australia, various jurisdictions have used electronic monitoring over the years. Matt Black and Russell Smith reviewed the use of electronic monitoring schemes across the country in 2003. Western Australia introduced tracking devices for young people in 2004.

Read more: GPS monitoring may intrude on prisoners' privacy

Across Australia, intensive surveillance systems are increasingly being seen as a way to manage risk. New South Wales is currently testing in-vehicle telematics surveillance apps for all young drivers (18- to 25-year-olds), who are deemed at higher risk of accidents or committing driving offences.

Families and Children Minister Jenny Mikakos claims the Victorian monitoring measure is needed to ensure high-risk young offenders comply with their parole conditions. The scheme could be expanded if it proves successful.

Lack of evidence and exorbitant costs

While there is little Australian research into the efficacy of electronic monitoring of young people (or post-release offenders generally), the Jill Dando Institute in the UK has conducted a recent systematic review of research in various countries around the world.

Some aspects of the Victorian proposal align with the international evidence on likelihood of success. The review shows electronic monitoring can increase the likelihood of repeat offenders being caught, serve as a constant reminder to offenders of their parole status and conditions, and reduce peer pressure by limiting access to the people and places that might contribute to repeat offending.

In addition, the review found that several behavioural changes brought by electronic monitoring might contribute to a reduction in crime. These include offenders being able to remain at home with family support (rather than being incarcerated), participate in treatment programs, abstain from drug and alcohol use, and even secure a job and regular source of income.

Read more: Why police in schools won't reduce youth crime in Victoria

However, the review found that electronic monitoring works best with just one category of offenders: sex offenders. When extended to broader “high-risk” offenders of all ages, there was no significant positive effect compared to non-monitoring.

The review also highlights the crucial importance of getting the implementation right. At this stage, little is known about how the Victorian electronic monitoring proposal would be implemented.

The right technology is vital. So, too, is the need to ensure strong data management and integration, which is problematic in Victoria. There also needs to be strong communication between a number of relevant agencies (an issue in Victoria), and detailed planning and program administration protocols prior to implementation (unknown at this stage).

The final issue is financial. The Victorian government has indicated an investment of A$2.1 million for an estimated 20 to 30 people in the initial trial phase of the program. This means at least $70,000 per person at the outset.

No doubt some of this money will be allocated to set-up costs for the monitoring system and wouldn’t need to be spent again in the future. But it’s still a considerable expense, and raises questions about whether the money could be better spent on other youth offender initiatives, such as drug/alcohol treatment, training and employment programs.

Election-year politics

This “get tough” approach to young criminal offenders comes during an election year in Victoria, when “law and order” issues tend to dominate debate. But evidence-based research of what does and does not work is being pushed aside in this case. So, too, are the negative effects that can arise from these policies.

Rather than focus on which party is toughest on crime, a more progressive approach on “law and order” issues is needed. A permanent mechanism for reviewing criminal justice policies and procedures is one idea. I’d suggest an independent Criminal Justice Commission that evaluates policy initiatives in the run-up to each election and conducts five-year reviews of criminal justice policies.

Read more: Tough on crime: Victoria is not learning lessons from abroad

Too bureaucratic? Too academic? Australia already has a similar system for evaluating economic policy (the pre-election budget analysis) and five-year defence strategic reviews.

To its credit, Victoria Police tried to implement something like this with its “Blue Paper”, but that was quietly shelved. In any case, we need a systematic review of the criminal justice system rather than an agency review.

We can only hope that between now and the November state election there will be some effort to develop progressive criminal justice policies directed at holistic crime prevention rather than a focus on more intensive surveillance.

The idea that more surveillance can solve recidivism is misguided. It might be better at catching breaches of parole, but for what purpose? Certainly not for helping a young offender understand the effects of their behaviours, the harms they have caused, and the need to find assistance and a path to a different future.

Authors: Darren Palmer, Associate professor, Deakin University

Read more http://theconversation.com/why-electronic-surveillance-monitoring-may-not-reduce-youth-crime-97864

Australia Today

10 Unmissable Attractions for first time visitors to Melbourne

News Company

Melbourne, the most fantastic city in Australia! If this is your first ever travel experience in Melbourne, well it is guaranteed that you are never going to forget it. The metropolitan hub has a lot to offer to its visors, both within the city and the outskirts. There are so many attractions tha...

Read more

Grass trees aren't a grass (and they're not trees)

John Patykowski, Plant ecologist, Deakin University

Xanthorrhoea have no real trunk – just tightly packed leaves. CC BY-SASign up to the Beating Around the Bush newsletter here, and suggest a plant we should cover at batb@theconversation.edu.au.Grass trees (genus Xanthorrhoea) look like they were imagined by Dr Seuss. An unmistakable tuft of wi...

Read more

Peter Grimes is a thrilling and moving staging of the great English opera

Trevor Jones, Lecturer in Musical Theatre, Griffith University

Stuart Skelton in the title role of Peter Grimes.Brisbane FestivalReview: Peter Grimes, Brisbane FestivalPeter Grimes, one of the centrepiece events of this year’s Brisbane Festival, is a remarkable collaboration between the festival, Opera Queensland, Philip Bacon AM, the Queensland Performin...

Read more

Michelle Grattan on strawberries, Sudmalis, schools, and the au pair affair

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Michelle Grattan speaks with University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor Deep Saini about the week in politics. They discuss rushed legislation on strawberry contamination, the Liberals continued women problem with Ann Sudmalis’ announcement she won’t recontest her seat, the government’...

Read more

Super. If Labor really wanted to help women in retirement, it would do something else

Brendan Coates, Fellow, Grattan Institute

Labor's plan to pay super to women on paid parental leave would barely boost their retirement incomes.ShutterstockWhen it comes to the gender gap in retirement incomes, symbolism appears to matter more than actually achieving something.Labor’s plan to add super contributions to government-fund...

Read more

Is it time for Australia to be more open about research involving animals?

Tyler Paytas, Research Fellow in Philosophy, Australian Catholic University

Most people never have the chance to see how animals live in laboratories.from www.shutterstock.com The use of animals in scientific research is a complex ethical issue, and these studies typically take place behind closed doors.But since 2012, more than 120 of Britain’s universities, research...

Read more

Holidays & Travel

Things to Do and See in Ballina, Australia

The intricate coastline of New South Wales is renowned for its sumptuous, decadent beaches, hidden resorts and secret camping spots. A long and slow ride down the winding highway that...

Guide to Travel Necessities for 2018

Sure, it sounds like quite an adventure to hit an open road with nothing but a one-way ticket and an open mind, but the harsh reality is – you won’t...

Top Sightseeing Spots in New Zealand

New Zealand is one of the most fascinating locations for anyone to visit in the world. After all, it’s a place with a variety of unique landscapes, but it isn’t...

Must-Pack Items for a Travel Blogging Boss

As a travel blogger, you get to see and explore so many wonderful destinations and meet various interesting people, but before you embark on a new adventure you need to...

Luxury Camping Adventures Around the World

Perhaps in direct response to the dominance of technology in the modern world, many travelers are feeling a strong draw towards nature. While some are able to fully embrace their...

Dredging works underway Plantation Island

Tourists and workers travelling to popular tourist destination Plantation Island, Fiji, are set to benefit from safer access when marine channel dredging is completed at the end of June 2018...

Top 5 Tips for Traveling With Dogs

Travelling with your dog can be thrilling, but sometimes it can turn into a real nuisance. Unless you know how to properly restrain the pooch, whether it’ll be able to...

Top Island Destinations for 2018

When we picture island destinations in our minds, we often imagine a tropical beach of white sand, a sun lounger laid out in the shade of a line of palm...

Why Car Rental Excess Insurance is a Smart Choice

Some car rental agencies include basic damage cover in the standard rental fee, with the option to add on liability reduction, or excess insurance. The addition of excess insurance normally...

Fashion & Beauty

Groom To Do List

Sorry Aussie Men, you no longer just pay for the alcohol, flowers and marriage license. Times have certainly changed. Wedding Expert shares what Australian Grooms are now expected to do before...

Simple Secrets To A More Confident Smile

We all know just how important first impressions are. After a handshake, what’s one of the first things people will notice about you? It’s your smile. A friendly smile is...

Improve Your Body Confidence and Feel Great

No matter how good you feel about yourself, sometimes you just can’t help but see a few little flaws that seem gigantic to you and make you feel self-conscious. Whether...

First-Timer Tips For Your First Lip Filler Appointment

Getting injectable lip fillers can be a quick and effective way to plump up your smile with minimal drama. They’re a cost-effective and safe way to boost the natural shape...

The Most Common Skin Conditions and How to Deal with Them

We often underestimate the importance of our skin, but as the largest organ in our body, and our primary layer of defense, it is constantly affected by many environmental factors...

Beach Babe Basics: Everything You Need to Look Stylish at the Beach

Summer is right around the corner, and this year, we all should make the best of it. Right now, it is not just about looking stylish on the streets, it...

HEALTH

Virectin Reviews and Results (LATEST) - Honest Review

Virectin is a potent, natural male enhancement supplement, recommended to all those who are interested in improving their sexual performance. According to the manufacturers, it can provide a positive effect...

How to Choose the Best Lasik Surgeon?? It’s as easy as it can get!

Whether you have had a vision problem since childhood, or you have developed one recently, eye surgeries are the answer to all your problems. It can be anything, ranging from...

Laser Liposuction: The Myths and Facts

Laser liposuction is a revolutionary new way to get rid of unwanted fat without the downtime experienced with traditional liposuction. This procedure offers a number of amazing benefits and is...

How To Show Your Elderly Relatives Love

At every stage of our lives, there’s one thing we truly need above all else: love. As our elderly parents, grandparents, or other relatives we care about grow older, it...

9 Ways to Recognize the Early Signs of Dementia

Dementia is a condition that is, unfortunately, very present among our elderly population. What makes this fact even worse is that, in spite of our best intentions and will to...

Co-Occurring Disorders and Overcoming Addiction

Co-occurring disorders, also known as dual diagnosis, refer to the combination of substance abuse and the presence of a mental disorder.  Many individuals who enter treatment for substance abuse are...

LIFE STYLE

Should You Repair Or Replace Your Air Conditioning Unit?

Whenever the summer arrives to the hilt and you feel that your air conditioning isn’t up to the mark, there is always one question that pops up into your mind...

6 Rug Trends That Will Boost Style and Comfort in Your Home

If you want to break up that boring and colorless look of your home, one of the easiest and quickest ways is to throw in a rug! Check out these...

Put your problems to rest with Antenna Genie

When the idea of television was first being tested, Darryl Zanuck of 20th Century Fox famously remarked that “no one would want to stare at a plywood box every night”...

Top 5 Design Trends in Commercial Interior

Commercial buildings include offices, restaurants, hotels, etc. and their design can play a crucial role in all the important aspects of a business such as brand reinforcement, customer engagement and...

Add a little colour to your move - and life!

How a little ‘colour’ and planning can take your Move, and make it a more enjoyable one Colour plays a huge role in our lives, it can take us up, or...

6 Simple Rules for Redesigning Your Kitchen

How do you feel about your kitchen? Well, if you feel like your home needs a bit of lifting up, one of the best and most effective places to start...

FOOD & DINING

Morning greens: the breakfast skincare regime

It’s safe to assume that most Aussies fail to eat enough greens. Although this was momentarily resolved with the rise and popularity of the green juice movement, the lack of...

Best Hidden Gem Hong Kong Restaurants

You finally find yourself enjoying the endless beauties of China and this fascinating city. In a place with so much variety, all your senses will be wide awake, and your...

JOHNNY DI FRANCESCO NAMED OFFICIAL AMBASSADOR OF EAT STREET MELBOURNE

Johnny Di Francesco, world champion pizzaiolo and owner of Melbourne’s Gradi Group of restaurants, is excited to announce he has been named official ambassador for Eat Street Melbourne 2018. As Ambassador...

The best Mother's Day gift EVER!

Whether it’s to celebrate a special occasion, or just wind down at the end of a long day, there’s nothing much better than pouring yourself a glass (or two…) of...

Sing for Your Supper at Chargrill Charlie’s

To celebrate the final curtain call of the Barden Bellas, Chargrill Charlie’s is giving you the chance to Sing for your Supper! Show off your best acapella vocals to win...

MAKE IT WINE TIME, ANY TIME

Whether it’s to celebrate a special occasion, or just wind down at the end of a long day, there’s nothing much better than pouring yourself a glass (or two…) of...