All prisoners released on ECL would have to have been released at their statutory release date a maximum of 18 days' later. For this reason, ECL operates according to precise fixed criteria: if prisoners meet the set criteria they are released on ECL. Prisoners serving a sentence for a violent offence (such as conspiracy to murder, manslaughter, wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, unlawful wounding, cruelty to children) are excluded.
Prison Service Instruction 42/2007 requires that prisons should take appropriate action in response to any information they have received that a prisoner who is eligible for release on ECL poses a risk of domestic violence or to a specific victim on release as follows:
All release arrangements that would otherwise have taken place 18 days later are brought forward to the ECL release date. As with any release, if the prison has information that indicates a risk to a victim, that information should be provided to the police and, where appropriate, submitted to the Multi Agency Pubic Protection Panel, in line with routine risk management arrangements.
Where the prison has information that indicates the prisoner has given the address of his victim as his release address, this should be flagged up to the local police so that measures to address the risk can be put in place.
Prison Governors will not release those prisoners who will be subject to supervision on release to an address prohibited by their offender manager in the supervision licence. In such cases ECL release will only take place if a suitable alternative address is provided. Where prisoners are subject to supervision on release, any conditions included on the normal supervision licence must also be included on the ECL licence.
There are no current plans to make any changes to the scheme. When prison population concerns allow, the scheme will be ended.