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Offenders: Electronic Tagging

Volume 476: debated on Thursday 22 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what sentencing guidelines are given to courts on the use of electronic tagging orders combined with curfews and the circumstances in which such a sentence would be appropriate;

(2) what guidance his Department has issued on using a combination of curfews and electronic tagging in sentencing; and under what circumstances his Department considers such sentencing appropriate. [206949] (206938)

Curfew may be imposed under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 as a requirement of a community order or of a suspended sentence order for offences committed on or after 4 April 2005. The Act requires that such a requirement must be electronically monitored unless this is not possible or it is judged inappropriate in a particular case.

The independent Sentencing Guidelines Council issued guidance to the courts on 2003 Act sentences in December 2004. The guidelines give examples of where curfew might be appropriate as part of a community order for offences in the low, medium and high seriousness ranges. They also say that electronic monitoring should be used with the primary purpose of promoting and monitoring compliance with other requirements, in circumstances where the punishment of the offender and/or the need to safeguard the public and prevent re-offending are the most important concerns.

The court may obtain and consider a pre-sentence report prepared by the National Probation Service (NPS) before sentencing. Comprehensive departmental guidance to the NPS on 2003 Act sentences was issued in 2005, explaining how curfew and electronic monitoring might be used. Other departmental guidance on specific aspects of sentencing, which may include references to curfew and electronic monitoring, is issued as necessary.