PAS assisted a prisoner who had called our Advice Line about the refusal to grant him release on Home Detention Curfew (HDC), the scheme under which prisoners can be released up to four and a half months before the halfway point of their sentence on an electronic tag. He was serving a two year sentence for a driving offence and was already past his HDC eligibility date.
Before that date he had been told everything was fine and that he would be released on tag, but he was then told this was not the case and that he was now being refused release because of a caution he had received 15 years earlier for a different type of offence. Given the terrible situation with Covid-19 in prison, he was understandably anxious to overturn this refusal and be released on tag to his family.
PAS wrote to the governor, pointing out that within the terms of the Prison Service Framework on HDC the prisoner should not be considered as ineligible, but as someone who, although ‘presumed unsuitable’ can nevertheless be released under ‘exceptional circumstances’ if the governor agrees to it. There was some delay before we got any response, despite copying our email to various officials in charge of HDC policy, as well as to the prison governor, but after two weeks of emailing, we were told by the prisoner’s family outside that he had been freed on tag and was back at home with them.