08/08/2011 09:33 BST | Updated 08/10/2011 06:12 BST

Maximum Curfew Increased To 16 Hours A Day

A new Government proposal to keep offenders under curfew at home for up to 16 hours a day has been slammed as 'completely flawed' by the National Association of Probation Officers (NAPO).

A spokesman for NAPO told the Huffington Post that Minister for Prisons and Probation Crispin Blunt's plan to increase the maximum curfew time to 16 hours a day "completely missed the point" of electronic monitoring and home curfews and would "effectively prevent anybody tagged from participating in work or education".

Curfews can currently be imposed for to 12 hours a day for up to six months, during which individuals are subject to electronic monitoring. If a curfew is breached, then offenders face being sent back to court for further punishment.

The Government insists that these new proposals will help to protect communities whilst also and ensuring that offenders face meaningful punishments. Minister for Prisons and Probation Crispin Blunt 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."

However, Frances Crook, Director of The Howard League for Penal Reform, criticised the scheme:

“We must work with people so that they are able to go on to lead law abiding lives. The happens by enabling people to access paid work, encouraging healthy relationships, finding suitable accommodation and crucially, by asking people to take responsibility for their actions. By keeping people locked in their bedrooms for a year we are not encouraging them to make better decisions or to improve their behaviour. Instead we are mimicking the prison environment; that of idleness, television watching and boredom.”

Under the new proposals, courts will have increased powers when setting curfews including the ability to vary curfew hours from day to day and to divide them into different blocks within the day.