Tightening the law around home detention curfew.
New powers of entry and search for police to apprehend a person unlawfully at large from a home detention curfew (HDC) have come into force.
A new offence of remaining unlawfully at large has also been introduced through the Management of Offenders Act which was passed by the Scottish Parliament in June.
The Act also includes greater powers around electronic monitoring including provisions enabling the use of technology to allow GPS tracking of offenders.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said:
“Scotland’s firm focus on rehabilitation in custody and in the community is working – with reconviction rates at the lowest level in 20 years. The Management of Offenders Act is a key part of our wider work to reform the justice system, enhance public safety and support greater use of community alternatives to custody, including supervised bail.
“Introducing the specific offence of remaining unlawfully at large and strengthening the rules around home detention curfew provides the necessary protection to reintegrate prisoners into the community, reducing the risk of them reoffending.”
The main provisions from 11 October 2019 are:
• the introduction of new powers of recall from HDC for the Scottish Prison Service
• the clarification of the law on HDC and temporary release
• the creation of an obligation on certain public authorities to co-operate in the exercise of their functions relating to prisoners; including sharing information
• the creation of a requirement on the Scottish Ministers to publish an HDC protocol
• the new offence of remaining unlawfully at large
• additional powers for police to apprehend those who remain unlawfully at large
Increased powers around electronic monitoring will be introduced in due course.
The creation of an offence of remaining unlawfully at large was originally recommended by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary Scotland in its review of Police Scotland’s response to a breach of HDC.
HDC is not an entitlement and certain categories of prisoner are automatically barred from consideration for it.