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Alternatives to Prison

Volume 462: debated on Wednesday 11 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the merits of enforced curfews as an alternative to imprisonment. (148418)

Curfew, which is normally monitored electronically, may be imposed as a condition of bail; as a sentence of the court or as a condition of release from prison. Studies suggest that curfew can be more cost effective than custody and may also help in the rehabilitation of offenders. It can also introduce regularity into what are often chaotic lifestyles and can disrupt the pattern of offending behaviour.

The Government believe that serious and dangerous offenders should be sent to prison. But where prison is not the right response to offending, a range of tough and demanding community punishments are available to the courts, which can include curfew.

The Home Detention Curfew scheme enables short term prisoners to be released up to 135 days before the automatic/conditional release date. The scheme is highly successful: 85 per cent. of those released on the scheme have completed it successfully with only 4 per cent. having re-offended while on HDC.