Modern Australian Magazine

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

Product of the Year (POY) 2019 winners

Rachel Stevenson

PRODUCTS OF THE YEAR REVEALED: HEALTH AND GLUTEN FREE FOODS TAKE TOP HONOURS   Over 14,000 Australian consumers have voted for their favourite products of the year, with a surprising number of new categories that recognise innovations in healthy and gluten free product lines. 10 wins out of a t...

Read more

Click Frenzy's Ironshopper winner

Amelia Watson

CLICK FRENZY HAS CROWNED AUSTRALIA’S FIRST EVER IRONSHOPPER WINNER, WITH 50K PRIZE MONEY   This year, Australia’s biggest online shopping event, Click Frenzy, added a whole new twist to their 24-hour sale with the ‘Ironshopper competition’. They set out to find Australia’s best onli...

Read more

Man who burnt his wife alive gets at least 27 years' jail, but not life

Lisa Featherstone, Associate Professor in Australian History and the History of Sexuality, The University of Queensland

Domestic killings have long been treated as somehow less serious than when random strangers are killed.ShutterstockLast week in the New South Wales Supreme Court, Justice David Davies sentenced a 45-year-old man found guilty of murdering his wife to a maximum of 36 years with a minimum non-parole pe...

Read more

More People Want a Sparkling Smile for the Festive Season

Andrea Edwards

With the Christmas party season just around the corner, there’s a new trend for people to add a whiter and brighter smile to their list of must-do’s ahead of the festive season. Refresh Dental Spa’s Dr Kristina Cain said while many people lose weight, get waxing and spray tans in the lead u...

Read more

Holidays & Travel

Adhari Park: Why is it one of the must-visit sites in Bahrain?

Despite its small area that does not exceed the 1,000 square kilometers mark, the Kingdom of Bahrain is known for being rich of touristic sites and attractions. Bahrain comprises destinations...

Exciting Off Road Adventures In Western Australia

Western Australia has long been a top destination for off roading enthusiasts from all across the world. One look at some of the top off road destinations on offer in...

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...

Fashion & Beauty

Summertime skin

Summertime skin: the water based and nutrient-rich after sun gel-cream providing more antioxidant support than your traditional aloe While summer might mean spending days on end lapping up the glorious sunshine...

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...

Popular articles from Modern Australian

More People Want a Sparkling Smile for the Festive SeasonUBank Increases Term Deposit Rates: What That Means for Aussie Savers?Bosses Must Address Their Mental Health for Personal and Business Success4 Things to Expect During Your Trichology ConsultationHappy Adoption: Frequently Asked Questions about Adopting6 Ways You Can Help Others that Will Advance Your CareerTop 6 Stylish Loft Conversions That Will Transform Your AtticThree Reasons Your Home Needs OneRose Smith Absolute Soul Secrets Top Foods That Boost Your Eye HealthFacts about Bruxism You Should KnowThe Most Stressful Life Events and How to Deal with ThemAU’s Most Challenging Hiking Trails5 Tips to Properly Plumb Your Vehicle5 Things That Every Lady Should Know About Her Car