Purpose: To consider the salient findings from the government trials of electronic monitoring in England and Wales, particularly those related to the experience of being electronically monitored. To look at the extent to which these were taken on board in the design of the new curfew order with electronic monitoring.
Arguments: The new curfew order became a sentencing option in three pilot areas in 1995. Its use and effectiveness in reducing offending behaviour have been watched very closely by a variety of practitioners and policy makers within the criminal justice system, including the courts, the police, the probation service and not least, the Home Office. Little attention has been given in the resulting commentary, however, to the recommendations arising from the first government trials of electronic monitoring in 1989. These highlighted many problems related to the conditions which those monitored mere subject to. This study looks specifically at recommendations regarding information given to the candidate; appraisal of the dwelling in which monitoring is to take place and effects on cohabitees; minimum and maximum curlew hours; and the need to improve the hardware and software associated with monitoring. It then looks at the progress of the current curfew order; assesses whether tile suggested improvements hare been made; and looks at the effects on the offender's ability to comply with the order.
Conclusions: In many respects lessons learnt during the first trials have contributed to the apparent success of the new curfew order. However, while evidence is promising so far, the future of the order remains unclear.