Some offenders may also be eligible for home detention curfew (HDC). This is a form of early release on licence which allows certain offenders to be released before the date on which they would otherwise leave prison. Certain offenders, such as sex offenders, are not eligible for the scheme and will not be released on HDC. The decision on whether to grant HDC is made by the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) on behalf of Scottish Ministers.

Offenders released on HDC licence will be subject to a curfew condition that requires them to stay within a specific address for around 12 hours every night. Compliance with the curfew is monitored remotely by means of electronic equipment or devices (a “tag”).

The SPS will carry out a risk assessment of an offender before he or she is allowed to be released on HDC. The assessment includes a report compiled by local authority social workers.

Offenders released on HDC will continue to serve their sentence during the period on HDC and could be recalled to prison if they don’t comply with the conditions.

Short-term prisoners (sentenced to less than four years) can be released between 2 weeks and 6 months early, that is before the half way point of their sentence.

Long-term prisoners (sentenced to four years or more) can only be considered for HDC if the Parole Board has decided to release them on parole at their parole qualifying date so any period of release on HDC is dependant on when the Parole Board makes that decision. The final decision on whether to grant HDC lies with the SPS. Long-term prisoners will also be subject to an SPS risk assessment before a final decision is made, even if the Parole Board has already decided to grant parole.