Labour proposes prison terms for offenders who breach detention curfews

Scottish Labour has announced plans to bring forward proposals to jail people who are found to have breached home detention curfews.

The Scottish Government announced in October that offenders convicted of crimes involving violence or knives would generally no longer be able to serve part of their sentence at home on an electronic tag curfew.

It followed the murder of Craig McClelland in July 2017 by James Wright, who was “unlawfully at large” while on home detention curfew at the time.

The Management of Offenders (Scotland) Bill, which would extend the use of electronic tagging, is currently being considered by MSPs at Holyrood, with Labour indicating it will support the proposed laws.

But the party has said it will table amendments calling for the creation of a presumption for a custodial sentence for anyone who is found guilty of breaching their home detention curfew, with any time spent in breach added on to the sentence they are given.

Scottish Labour justice spokesman Daniel Johnson said: “We will support the creation of a new offence for prisoners breaching the condition of their release on electronic tag. But we will go further.

“We will bring forward proposals that ensure those breaching will be arrested, go to jail, and make sure that the time spent at large is added to their sentence.

“Prisoners breaching their conditions, cutting off their tag, must be treated as seriously as a prisoner escaping over the prison wall.”

In addition to the presumption against home detention curfews for offenders convicted of violent or knife crimes, the Scottish Government also previously said it would attempt to bring in new legislation to make remaining unlawfully at large a specific offence, giving police powers of arrest and forced entry which they currently do not have.