Home Detention Curfew - or "Tagging"
"Tagging" is a recent development and is a system of early release subject to various conditions the main one being a curfew that is under electronic surveillance.
You can read the legal definition and requirements below.
The Scottish Parliament has just decided by a narrow vote to apply "tagging" to long term prisoners.
The prison authorities in England and wales operate a policy of not applying "tagging" to long term prisoners though there is scope for it to apply in what they call 'exceptional' circumsatnces and subject to the discretion of the local governor. In our view this is a dangerpous policy and does not reflect the letter of the law which does not preclude applying the tag to long term prisoners.
The legal position
As soon as a fixed-term prisoner has served the “requisite custodial period” , it is the duty of the Secretary of State to release him on licence (2003 Act, s.244).
The requisite custodial period is generally one half of the sentence. The licence period runs until the end of the original sentence.
A fixed-term prisoner may be released on licence (under the home detention early release scheme) up to 135 days before he has served half of his sentence provided that he has served a “requisite custodial period” (s.246). This will not apply unless –
(a) the requisite custodial period is at least 6 weeks;
(b) he has served at least four weeks; and
(c) he has served at least one half of the requisite custodial period.
In effect this means that the original sentence must have been at least three months as the requisite custodial period is one half of the original sentence: s.244.
In addition to those serving extended sentences, the provisions do not apply to certain other categories, including sex offenders, those liable to deportation, prisoners subject to a hospital order or direction, and those recalled from being on licence. In the case of those serving extended sentences, there is no “duty” to release them on licence but they can be so released if the Parole Board directs their release (s.247).
Any licence must contain curfew conditions requiring the offender to remain at specified places at specified times (not less than nine hours a day) and my include provision for electronic monitoring (i.e., “tagging” ) (s.250).