Home detention curfew

The Home Detention Curfew (HDC) scheme applies to prisoners who are serving sentences of between three months and under four years. It allows prisoners to live outside of prison providing they do not breach the rules of their curfew and is designed to help prisoners prepare for life after their release.

Risk Assessment

Prisoners will usually be considered for HDC unless they are statutorily excluded from the scheme. Prisoners on this scheme will be released between two weeks and four and a half months before their automatic release date, depending on the length of the sentence. Prisoners who are statutorily excluded include those who have committed violent or sex offences who are currently serving an extended sentence under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

Prisoners serving sentences for certain offences are "presumed unsuitable" for HDC, and will not be released unless the Governor agrees to their exceptional circumstances. This rule also applies to prisoners with any history of sexual offending who are not already statutorily excluded from the scheme. HDC is not an entitlement and can only be granted subject to prisoners meeting the eligibility criteria and passing a risk assessment, including a home circumstances check.

Electronic tags

If a prisoner is to be released on HDC they must sign a licence which tells them the times they will have to remain at their home address or hostel; normally 7pm - 7am. On reaching this address, an electronic tag is fitted to the prisoner and monitoring equipment installed at the address by a private contractor.

If the prisoner breaks their curfew, the electronic tag will alert the contractors and the prisoner may be recalled to prison where they will stay until their automatic release date. If they are recalled for breaching the HDC curfew conditions, they will not be released again on HDC either for the rest of their sentence or on any future custodial sentences they may receive.

Sometimes a prisoner is recalled for reasons beyond their control (for example if they are unable to stay at the curfew address any longer). If this is the case they may be eligible to apply for re-release immediately upon their return to custody subject to another suitable address being located.

For more information, ring the HDC policy helpline on one of the following numbers: 0203 334 5043 and 0203 334 5044. Staff cannot comment on individual cases but can offer general advice on the HDC process.

HM Prison Service

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