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Terrorism: Prisoner Release

Volume 474: debated on Thursday 24 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many persons awaiting trial for, or convicted of, terrorism offences have been released on home detention curfew since 1997. (196558)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners serving sentences for terrorism offences were released on home detention curfew in each of the last five years. (200237)

The Home Detention Curfew (HDC) scheme, was introduced in January 1999. It applies only to offenders serving determinate sentences of imprisonment or detention.

Anyone serving four years or more is either statutorily ineligible or presumed unsuitable for HDC unless there are exceptional circumstances. Since July 2003 prisoners serving sentences of any length for certain violent offences such as conspiracy to commit murder and serious explosives offences, which could have links to terrorist activity, have been presumed unsuitable for HDC unless there are exceptional circumstances.

In December 2007 the list of examples of presumed unsuitable offences was clarified and extended to include most offences under counter terrorism legislation. Since then, and in line with the announcement made by me on 28 March concerning the eligibility criteria for the End of Custody Licence scheme, prisoners serving sentences for any offence committed under counter terrorism legislation, will be presumed unsuitable for release on HDC. Prison governors were notified of this decision on 4 April 2008 and a Prison Service instruction will be issued in due course.

Between 1999 and 2007 three prisoners convicted of offences under terrorism legislation were released on HDC: two in 2003 and one in 2007.

These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems, which, as with any large scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.