‘Give young criminals ankle monitors’: minister

Young offenders in Sweden should be required to wear ankle monitors upon their release from juvenile care facilities, justice minister Beatrice Ask has proposed.

'Give young criminals ankle monitors': minister

Young people who have been convicted of serious crimes in Sweden often revert to criminal behaviour when they are released back into society.

In order to cut down on recidivism among young people, the government proposes that 15- to 17-year-old who have been sentenced to time in closed institutional youth care facilities (sluten ungdomsvård) should be required to wear ankle monitors, the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper reports.

“I want to see a better transition process for young people, Ask told the newspaper.

“They should be able to participate in work experience programmes, education, athletics, or whatever it can be. But at the same time it should happen in a safe way and with a certain amount of control.”

Ask called the ankle monitors “quite good”, as they allow young people to avoid having round-the-clock monitoring by a caregiver.

However, Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) has advised against the proposal. In a comment on the proposed legislation, the agency argues that personal contact is a more effective way to help young offenders reintegrate into society.

In addition, ankle monitors also increase the risk that the person wearing them is identified as a criminal among other young people.

The proposed changes are part of a set of larger government inquiry looking into criminal penalties for young people. According to the government’s plan, the National Board of Institutional Care (Statens institutionsstyrelse – SiS) would work together with the health and welfare board to develop individual transition plans for young offenders to help them reenter society.

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