Early release for hundreds of prisoners to ease overcrowding in jails

17 March 2020, 08:59

Inmates could be released early with an electronic tag and curfew conditions
Inmates could be released early with an electronic tag and curfew conditions. Picture: PA
Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

Hundreds of criminals could be released early from prison to ease overcrowding in jails, according to government proposals reported in The Times.

Up to 600 inmates could be released under Home and Detention Curfew (HDC) at any one time, according to estimates the proposals cited from the Ministry of Justice.

The HDC scheme, which was introduced in 1999 as a "managed transition" from prison to community, means offenders would be freed up to four-and-a-half months before their scheduled release date.

They would also be made to wear an electronic tag and adhere to a curfew.

According to The Times, ministers want to extend the maximum HDC early release period in England and Wales to six months.

Home Office figures show there were 83,917 people in prison since Friday, 2,718 of which are on the HDC scheme.

The proposals, which are not said to be related to the coronavirus pandemic, will need approval from MPs.

HDC is only available for prisoners serving short custodial sentences between three months and four years, and is not available for sex offenders, terrorists, or foreign national offenders facing deportation.