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From the 3rd until the 5th of December 2024, it is time for the 13th edition of the Electronic Monitoring Conference in Cascais/Lisbon, Portugal. This year’s theme is ‘Beyond Control – Electronic Monitoring and Prevention’. 

This conference will explore questions about how electronic monitoring (EM) assists with meeting the goals of the criminal justice system. EM is now well established as a criminal justice tool across Europe and the rest of the World. As it becomes further embedded into everyday criminal justice practice, and remains appealing to politicians and policy-makers, its applications are also expanding, for example for domestic violence and with juveniles. Nevertheless, evidence about its impact and effectiveness lag behind its implementation. This conference begins to address this gap but drawing together available evidence and lessons learnt about crucial questions of effectiveness – how, and in what ways, does EM manage offenders’ behaviour in relation to compliance with court orders, reoffending and other outcomes? Does EM assist with preventing unwanted behaviours? What are the most effective ways of working with wearers to improve outcomes? It will also address areas of growth – domestic violence, juveniles and pre-trial – which raise fundamental questions for the way in which EM has been understood and implemented to date as well as ethical and human rights concerns.

Programme

>Click here to view the Preliminary programme

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Plenary/workshops abstracts

Read below short abstract about several of the plenary presentations that are included in the conference programme.

  • Impacts of Electronic Monitoring

Despite the growth in the use of electronic monitoring (EM) in many countries, research on its impact on wearers and their families is relatively limited. To date quantitative studies have focused on criminal justice impacts (compliance and reoffending) whilst studies drawing attention to other impacts on the lives of wearers have been qualitative and based on relatively small samples. The availability of large databases of monitoring data which can be linked with data from other sources within and outwith criminal justice organisations such as probation and health data provides the opportunity to explore the impacts of EM more wholistically and quantitatively. This session will explore the findings of two studies, one in England and Wales and one in Sweden, which have used these new data sources to explore the criminal justice and wider impacts of EM on wearers.

  • Breaches and non-compliance

One of the strengths of EM is that it detects non-compliance events systematically and immediately, bolstering confidence in its ability to manage wearers’ behaviour and providing additional reassurance to court decision-makers. However, it also raises challenges given the number of minor violations detected by EM equipment, the battery charging regimes required by GPS devices and the amount of information generated. This session compares and contrasts the different approaches taken to managing EM violations in several countries, focusing on their breach policies and practices to improve understanding of what is effective. It will distinguish between processes and outcomes of technology-led and people-led approaches to managing non-compliance and breaches. It will also highlight similarities and differences between pre-and post-conviction breach policies, procedures and practices.

  • Pre-trial use of electronic monitoring

Many countries use EM (RF and GPS technologies) during the pre-trial stage when wearers are awaiting trial and presumed to be innocent. According to the European Convention of Human Rights, other international conventions and many national laws, the purposes of EM at this stage of the criminal justice process differ from those post-conviction and should not relate to punishment or rehabilitation. EM should be used to meet the concerns of courts set out in relevant legislation, which relate to inter alia public protection and risks of absconding, further offending and interfering with the administration of justice. Despite this, all wearers whether pre- or post-conviction are treated the same in some countries, raising human rights concerns.
EM is used to monitor conditions which facilitate release/bail, for example, house arrest, curfews and exclusion/inclusion zones. In some countries, but not necessarily all, EM is a direct alternative to pre-trial detention. Consequently, one justification for its increasing use across Europe has been as a tool to reduce pre-trial prison populations. It is also viewed as less disruptive, burdensome and uncomfortable for wearers than pre-trial detention.
This session will examine how EM is used at the pre-trial stage, highlighting some best practices and some of the challenges, including how to ensure that pre-trial EM complies with European standards for the treatment of those awaiting trial. Available evidence about its effectiveness in terms of managing prison populations, the risks of absconding and reoffending and ensuring that defendants face trial will also be explored.

  • Domestic violence and electronic monitoring

In response to the widespread and persistent problem of domestic violence, electronic monitoring (EM) has emerged as a potential tool for reducing reoffending and improving victim safety. While EM shows promise further research and evaluation are necessary to fully understand its effectiveness and its legal, ethical and social implications. As we look to the future of domestic violence prevention, the use of EM must be carefully examined and evaluated, with an eye towards maximising its benefits whilst minimising potential harms to wearers, victims’ and their families.
This session examines the potential benefits and limitations of using EM in domestic violence cases, including its impact on victims’ safety and reoffending, its cost-effectiveness as well as legal, ethical and social considerations.
This session explores the challenges and (best) practices related to using EM in domestic violence cases. How can research and practice generate new evidence on the effectiveness of EM in reducing reoffending and improving victim safety? What’s the right balance between offender accountability and respect for individual rights.

  • Juveniles and electronic monitoring

In some European countries electronic monitoring is being considered for the first time as a response to emerging trends in juvenile offending, including an increase in gang-related violence and young people’s involvement in drug supply. Its potential use has also arisen because of changes to criminal laws and policies which have resulted in stricter criminal sanctions and measures. In other countries, such as England and Wales, it is already being used with juveniles, and to tackle offending linked to gangs, drugs and weapons. This session will reflect on whether EM should be a tool to control and support juveniles to desist from offending, the implications of using it for this group and how EM practices need to be developed to take account of juveniles’ special status and human rights considerations. The discussion will draw on the experience of countries in different stages of developing EM for use with juveniles.

Workshops

The workshops are an extension of the plenary session. There are 2 rounds of 2 workshops each, for which you are requested to make a choice when completing your registration.

Registration and fees
  • CEP member: 250 euros;
  • Non-CEP member: 450 euros;
  • Private organisation: 650 euros.

The deadline for registration is  3 November 2024.

Bursaries: CEP members who wish to attend a CEP event and are not able to (fully) fund their attendance, may apply for a bursary through the following link: https://www.cep-probation.org/application-bursaries/

>Click here to register.

 

Accommodation and conference venue

Accommodation is not included in the conference fee, but CEP can recommend Hotel Cascais Miragem Health & Spa for your stay. The CEP promotional link, click here.
A limited number of rooms are available at the special rate, and if you wish to extend your stay, please indicate this at the time of reservation in the comments field of the hotel website.

>Click here to register.

Location and venue

 

 

Situated close to the sea and traditionally a fishing village, Cascais enjoyed an important period of development in the 14th century when it was a major stopping-off point for boats on their way to Lisbon, turning it into a very busy port at that time.

It was, however, in the second half of the 19th century, when sea bathing became a popular activity, that Cascais was given the impetus that transformed it into a very fashionable summer resort. The great driving force behind this transformation was the king of Portugal, Dom Luís I, who, in 1870, converted the Fortaleza da Cidadela into the summer residence of the Portuguese monarchy. The king’s example was immediately copied by the nobility, who built palaces and extremely beautiful villas in the town, where they spent the hottest season of the year, completely transforming the appearance of the former fishing village.

Cascais also began to attract the attention of the curious, who came here to enjoy a stroll by the seaside, and access to the town was greatly facilitated by the opening of the railway line between Pedrouços and Cascais in 1889. Nowadays, Cascais is a very lively and cosmopolitan town that still preserves a great deal of its earlier aristocratic atmosphere.

Particularly recommended is a stroll through its streets, where you will find shops of the highest quality, or perhaps you might prefer to enjoy a few moments’ rest at one of the many outdoor cafés and restaurants scattered about the town. The beaches continue to be one of Cascais’ greatest attractions, and it is possible to choose from amongst those that are situated in the town’s sheltered bay or those a little further away in the area around Guincho, (already forming part of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park), where there are excellent conditions for surfing and windsurfing. The Boca do Inferno (literally the Jaws of Hell), an inlet along the coast that is surrounded by steep rocks and caves, continues to be a natural curiosity attracting many thousands of visitors to marvel at the brute strength of the sea.

A special mention is reserved for the local cuisine, especially the fresh fish and shellfish dishes that are served here and which can be enjoyed in the region’s many restaurants.

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