Understanding Conditions for Prisoner Release on Electronic Monitoring (Tagging)

Prison Info

Electronic monitoring, commonly referred to as ‘tagging’, is a tool often used by the UK justice system for prisoners who are considered a low-risk to society. In this write-up, we’ll be delving into the main aspects of the tagging system, its operation, and the conditions a prisoner should meet for this type of release.

It’s worth noting that getting tagged doesn’t guarantee less strict supervision – it is a different form of control, designed to ease prisoner reintegration into society while prioritising public safety.

Why the Tagging System?

The tagging system serves as an effective way of managing offenders within the community. Some benefits include:

  • Continued supervision and control
  • Easing prison overcrowding
  • Helping prisoners maintain contact with families
  • Allowing prisoners to contribute to society through work or study

Who Is Eligible?

The suitability of prisoners for release on tagging is assessed on a case-by-case basis. The decision usually rests on these factors:

  1. Offense Severity: Non-violent, low-risk prisoners are more likely to be considered.
  2. Behaviour during incarceration: A good behavior record is usually required.
  3. Time left on sentence: Those with a particular period left may be considered for tagging.

How Does the System Work?

The system operates based on location monitoring. A device is fitted to the ankle of the prisoner which sends regular signals to a monitoring centre, confirming the individual’s location.

Violation of rules linked to the tag (such as leaving an approved location) triggers an alarm. This breach can result in re-imprisonment or further sanctions.

Living Conditions and Restrictions

Those released on electronic monitoring are typically subjected to certain restrictions on their daily activities, including:

  • Maintaining a curfew
  • Restrictions on travelling
  • Regular reporting to the monitoring centre

Support Network

Having a supportive network of family and friends is crucial for those on tagging. It aids in the prisoner’s successful reintegration back into society.

Housing and Employment

Securing stable and suitable housing, as well as employment, are key considerations. Both can contribute significantly towards reducing the risk of reoffending.


While the tagging system may not be ideal for all, it’s a constructive component in the step towards a prisoner’s rehabilitation. Recognising this process as a golden opportunity to make positive changes can make the resettlement transition smoother.

The key to successful rehabilitation often lies in the ability to accept responsibility, make amends, and develop a positive outlook for the future.

For more helpful insights into the UK prison system, be sure to explore the rest of our website.


What happens if the tag is tampered with or removed?
If a tag is tampered with or removed, it triggers an alarm at the monitoring centre leading to potential penalties, including re-imprisonment.

Is there a cost involved for prisoners?
Typically, there are no costs associated with tagging for prisoners in the UK. The monitoring service is funded by the government.

Can people on electronic monitoring leave their homes?
Generally, those on electronic monitoring must remain within their homes during specified hours (a curfew). Exceptions may be made for work, education, or appointments.

Are all types of offenders eligible for tagging?
No, eligibility for release under electronic monitoring is determined on a case-by-case basis and depends on factors such as the severity of the crime, behaviour during incarceration, and the remaining time on sentence.

What happens after the period of tagging ends?
Once the period of tagging ends, the electronic tag is removed. The individual may still be under supervision or community measures as per the instructions of the probation services.


‘tagging’, ‘prisoner release’, ‘electronic monitoring’, ‘UK prison system’

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