As part of the Government’s review of sentencing in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill, ministers have decided to increase the number of hours which offenders are required to stay in their homes while electronically tagged.
The daily maximum curfew time is currently set at 12 hours, but it will extend to 16 hours and can be imposed from six to 12 months.
The curfews are intended to protect communities and give offenders meaningful punishments that will help them stop reoffending and improve their lives.
Crispin Blunt, minister for Prisons and Probation, said: “These tougher curfew conditions will keep offenders off the street for longer, stop them socialising in the evenings and keep them away from situations that could land them in trouble again.
“This is part of our proposals to reform the Criminal Justice System and will help to keep communities safe whilst important work is done with offenders to turn them away from a life of crime.”
The new curfew hours will enable offenders to divide their 16-hour periods into different blocks within the day.
There are around 24,000 individuals with electronic tags who are restricted by curfews under court order. If they break their curfews, they will be brought before court again and issued a harsher sentence.
Stephen Sheenan was ordered to wear an electronic tag and had a 12-hour curfew in January 2011. He claimed that the curfew allowed him time to turn his life around.
He said: “I have definitely changed since being on tag, and can see that it’s far better than going to prison which I don’t think would have worked for me as it was my first offence. It definitely works as it really teaches you a lesson.
“The curfew has actually meant that I’ve been able to change my life around. It was easy to keep to as I was always able to get home for 7pm and allowed me to sort my life out.
“I’m now going to university in September and looking forward to a new time in my life.”
As well as the new curfew rules, a new offence is to be introduced for aggravated knife possession. This crime will carry a mandatory six-month prison sentence.
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