Lie detector testing and electronic monitoring will become British probation officers’ new standards of supervision for many of the criminal offenders they oversee.
In response to increased recidivism, a renationalization of a previously partially-privatized probation system will result in an overhaul of supervision protocols, reported The Telegraph.
The changes are laid out in a document titled “National Standards 2021.”
“[It is] drawn up for the unified probation system that brings back under control the management of thousands of offenders that was previously contracted out to community rehabilitation companies,” said the article.
Citing the need to protect the public, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland supported overhauling a department with a history of lax supervision.
“The Government is backing the new Probation Service with more money and more staff so that the public is better protected, crime is cut and fewer people become victims,” Buckland said.
“The work probation does to protect the public from harm and rehabilitate offenders is too often overlooked but it is vitally important given 80 percent of crime is reoffending.”
As part of the new control procedures, lie-detector testing will be required within three months of release and afterward every six months for the following: terrorists, sex offenders, and domestic abusers convicted of murder, of violence, or of breaches of restraining orders.
Additionally, violent gang members, stalkers, and domestic abusers will be subject to “electronic tagging,” which is 24-hour per day satellite tracking. Exclusion zones have been implemented to bar gang members from their former territories and domestic abusers from their victims.
Electronic tagging will alert probation officers to “potential breaches of license such as a breach of curfew or an exclusion zone and to locate an individual should we have immediate concern about their behavior,” according to the document.
Probation officers will no longer be allowed to check on offenders by phone. They are now required to visit them face-to-face at least once per month.
“Face to face contacts should be a minimum of every four weeks. For cases assessed as presenting high or very high risk of serious harm, weekly contact should be maintained other than in exceptional circumstances,” the new rules stipulate.
Under the partially-privatized system, up to 40% of probation subjects were supervised via telephone every six weeks rather than by face-to-face contact.