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29 May 2022

Electronic tagging of prisoners of Portlaoise and other jails cost €1 million

Portlaoise Court

The Irish Prison Service has abandoned electronic tagging because of the cost  and value for money concerns.

Figures, released by Minister for Justice Helen McEntee on prisoner to Laois/Offaly Independent TD Carol Nolan, show that  total of €1,085,759 was spend on the electronic monitoring of 151 prisoners. The bill was run up between 2014 and 2021.

More than half the total money - €562,291 - was spend tagging 37 prisoners since 2018. The system cost €523,468 to tag 114 prisoners between 2014 and 2018.

Total cost of electronic monitoring by year is as follows:

2014 - €73,961
2015 - €153,682
2016 - €129,708
2017 - €166,117
2018 - €221,790
2019 - €166, 538
2020 - €139,512
2021 - €34,451

Total cost - €1,085,759

The Minister for Justice Helen McEntee explained the situation in her reply.

"Following a review in 2020, the Irish Prison Service, in consultation with the Department of Justice, decided not to renew the contract for electronic monitoring in January 2021".

"The Irish Prison Service published a tender for the provision of electronic tagging and monitoring of prisoners in 2019. I am advised that one response was received from the incumbent company, which met all technical and operational criteria.

"A submission recommending discontinuing the use of electronic monitoring, due to a number of factors, including the assessment in terms of the overall value for money, was carefully considered and decision not to proceed to tender award stage was communicated to the tender applicant in January 2021," the minister added.

The Government is proposing a law to give courts the power to tag sex offenders. The cost is set to be piloted before full introduction.

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