Home Detention Curfew (HDC)

What is Home Detention Curfew (HDC)?

Home Detention Curfew is a scheme which allows some people to be released early from custody if they have a suitable address to go to. It is often called ‘tagging’.

If you are released on HDC you will have rules to follow about where you can go and what time you have to be back at home. This is known as a ‘curfew’. For example, you will normally be expected to be at your home address for 12 hours from 7pm to 7am. In rare cases, this curfew could be changed – for example if you have paid work that falls within these hours.

You will have to wear an electronic tag whilst on HDC, normally around your ankle. This is used to check that you follow these rules.

There are rules about who can get HDC and how long they can be on HDC for.


Who can be released on HDC?

Whether you can get released on HDC depends on things like your sentence length, current and previous offences and your behaviour during this and previous sentences.

Eligibility

Eligibility is a matter of law, so if you are ineligible you will not be released on HDC under any circumstances. The Home Detention Curfew (HDC) Policy Framework includes the list of exclusions. You are ineligible if any of the following apply:

  • you are serving a sentence of less than 12 weeks for any offence;
  • you are serving a sentence of 4 years or more for any offence;
  • you have been convicted of a sexual offence and are required to register;
  • you are currently serving an extended sentence for violent or sexual offences;
  • you are serving a sentence for failing to return on ROTL, absconding or escape;
  • you are serving a sentence for breach of the curfew requirement of a Community Order
  • you have ever been recalled to prison for failing to comply with HDC curfew conditions;
  • you have ever been returned to custody by the court for committing an imprisonable offence during an ‘at-risk period’ of a previous sentence. If you are unsure if this applies to you, there is more information about ‘at-risk periods’ in PSO 6000.
  • you are currently serving a recall from early release on compassionate grounds;
  • you are a foreign national who has been recommended for deportation by the court or you are liable to deportation and a decision to deport has been served.

Presumed Unsuitable

Even if you are eligible there are a number of reasons you could be ‘presumed unsuitable’. These include:

  • anyone with a history of sexual offending but not required to register;
  • foreign national offenders liable to deportation but not yet served with a decision to deport;
  • anyone who has been recalled for poor behaviour during a previous period of HDC
  • plus, anyone serving a sentence for any of the following categories of offence:

o   Homicide

o   Explosives

o   Possession of an offensive weapon

o   Possession of firearms with intent

o   Cruelty to Children

o   Racially aggravated offences

o   Terrorism

There is more information in the Home Detention Curfew (HDC) Policy Framework.

If you are presumed unsuitable you will only be allowed HDC in ‘exceptional circumstances’. If you think your case is exceptonal you can write to the Governor asking them to consider it. If they agree that there are exceptional circumsatnces, then HDC can be considered as normal.

Annex D of the Policy Framework contains more guidance to help Governors decide if a case has exceptional circumstances. 

When can I be released on HDC?

If you are granted HDC, you must serve at least 28 days OR a quarter of your sentence in prison, whichever is the longest. The maximum period of HDC is 135 days.

For example, if you receive a sentence of at least 18 months but less than 4 years, you can only be released on HDC 135 days before the halfway point of your sentence.

If your sentence length is 12 weeks or more but less than 18 months you must serve a quarter of your sentence before you can be released on HDC.

Your HDC eligibility date will be based on the above. This does not mean that you will get released on HDC on that date, only that you are eligible for release on HDC from that day onwards. Few people are released exactly on their eligibility date.


When will I be told if I can get HDC?

The prison should work out your eligibility within 5 working days of sentence calculation and should inform you in writing.

If you are eligible and suitable for HDC you should be considered automatically and should not need to apply. You should receive a Proposed Address Form at least 10 weeks before your HDC eligibility date. If you are serving a very short sentence this should happen sooner.

If this does not happen, speak to staff or put in an application to OMU or the HDC clerk at your prison.

You should be informed of the decision at least 2 weeks before your HDC eligibility date.

What happens after I submit the Proposed Address form?

After you have submitted the Proposed Address Form, staff at the prison should complete part 1 of the Address Checks form and send it to your responsible officer in the community. Your responsible officer may also be called your probation officer or offender manager. The Proposed Address Form should be sent to your responsible officer at least 9 weeks before your HDC eligibility date.

If you do not have an address to give, you can apply to the Bail Accommodation and Support Service (BASS). Ask your offender supervisor how to apply for this.

Seven weeks before your eligibility date your responsible officer should have returned the completed Address Checks form and confirmed the following:

  • Informed Consent by the main person is living there – this means that your responsible officer will make sure they understand what HDC means and check that they are happy for you to be released to that address. They will also need to know who else is living at that address.
  • That there is an electricity supply at the address;
  • Details of your reporting instructions  – this is when and where you will need to meet with your responsible officer once you are out of prison;
  • If any non-standard licence conditions are needed, such as any variation on the usual 7pm-7am curfew hours, for example to allow you to attend work
  • If there are any risk management planning actions, including to safeguard children or adults, which need to happen before you can be released to that address.

Your responsible officer may visit the address given to make checks if they think this is necessary.


How and when is the HDC decision made?

At least 5 weeks before your eligibility date, and once an Address Checks form has been returned by your responsible officer in the community, your case should be assessed and a decision made.

If you are eligible for HDC, and not presumed unsuitable, the decision should be made to release you on HDC unless one or more of the following apply;

a) you are under investigation or have been charged or convicted of a serious further offence during your current sentence,

b) there are risk management planning actions which must happen before you are released (for example the address has been found unsuitable), or

c) there would be fewer than 10 days to serve on HDC before you would normally be released automatically.

It is also possible that a decision can be postponed for the above reasons. If you have been refused because the address was found unsuitable you should be given the opportunity to have an alternative address considered, if there is time.

You should be informed of the decision at least 2 weeks before your HDC eligibility date.

There is more information about the process in the Home Detention Curfew (HDC) Policy Framework. You can contact our Advice and Information service if you would like us to send you a copy of this.

Can I appeal the decision?

There is no formal appeal procedure if you are not happy about an HDC decision. However, you can put in a complaint using the normal internal complaints procedure.


Further information

Useful PSIs and PSOs (these should be available in the library):

Home Detention Curfew (HDC) Policy Framework

PSI 25/2013 Accommodation and Support Service for Bail and HDC

 

Information sheets

Prisoners’ Advice Service information sheet about Home Detention Curfew

Prisoners’ Advice Service Self Help Toolkit about Home Detention Curfew


For a print-ready version of this information, click here.