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Probation and Community Sentencing

By: Dave Howell - Updated: 19 Jul 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Probation Court Justice Judicial

Probation and community sentencing are closely linked to the offence that the defendant has committed. The courts will try and avoid a custodial sentence where possible as this could have a detrimental impact on the offender. The court will always seek to ensure that justice is upheld, but instead of a prison sentence, the court can hand down a community sentencing as an alternative option to prison. If you are an offender and have served a prison sentence of more than 12 months, you will automatically on your release be put under the supervision of the National Probation Service (NPS).

The Criminal Justice Act 2003 also bought into law two new offences: Community Order and Suspended Sentence Order. Both of these have an impact on probation and community sentencing. The court will usually order the offender to perform one or more ‘requirements’ as part of their sentence within the Suspended Sentence Order or the Community Order. These will usually be managed by the offender’s probation officer that have a range of leaflet giving details of each requirement.

What Does Probation Mean?

Anyone that has served a prison sentence of 12 months or more will automatically on their release be assigned a probation officer. The justice system seeks to rehabilitate all offenders - the probation services is a key component in that rehabilitation. The court and the wider judicial system does not want to simply release offenders back into the community without any help and support. You can read more about the NPS on their website. The remit of the NPS is to:

  • Prevent an offender from committing more crimes
  • Enforce the offender’s community sentence conditions
  • Resolve any issues that resulting in the offender committing their crime in the first place

If you are given probation it is important that you comply with all the rules that have been set out by the court. The judicial system insists that any conditions it places on your probation are followed to the letter. Remember you must never:

  • Attend a meeting with your probation officer drunk or under the influence of alcohol
  • Miss a meeting with your probation officer
  • Use threatening behaviour

If you break the conditions of your probation you will be sent back to court. The court will then make a decision whether you should be sent back to prison. It is your legal right to make a complaint about the probation service handling your case. All appeals should be made to the NPS office handling your case. If you are still not satisfied your complaint has been dealt with, you can contact the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman that will investigate your complaint as they have a legal responsibility to investigate all complaints and appeals about sentencing decisions.

What is Community Sentencing?

Community sentencing has proven to be effective as it can ensure that the offender makes some form of recompense to the community that was affected by their offence. Since April 2005 a new offence called a Community Order has been available to the courts. As with all sentences that a court can hand down, if you believe a mistake has been made, you can make a formal complaint via the court that heard your case.

Examples of community sentencing that you could be ordered to carry out by the court hearing your case includes:

  • Unpaid work to help your local community. This could include collecting litter, helping charities or assisting your local authority removing graffiti
  • Regularly visiting a probation officer to help you improve your behaviour
  • Curfews may be imposed by the court

If you are a young offender that is defined as anyone under the age of 17, the court dealing with your case could give you a number of different sentences based on the offence that you committed. The Youth Justice System handles these types of offences. You can see more details on their website. Sentences such as community rehabilitation orders will mean you will be supervised by a probation officer or by someone from your local Youth Offending Team.

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[Add a Comment]
@Shovel1 - I don't think it's negotiable. It's meant to be a punishment.
RoLO - 20-Jul-18 @ 10:17 AM
bob - Your Question:
Hi I had a fine never paid it went to court got 40 hour community service I've dine 12 hours but missed it 3 times now I need to go back to court it's the first time I ever breached community service will I get another chance to do it or will I get the jail thanks

Our Response:
We cannot predict what a court may decide.
CourtroomAdvice - 19-Jul-18 @ 11:50 AM
One of my work colleagues works from 7 until 6 each week day (5-6 is overtime) and Saturday 7-1pm (all overtime) He's been ordered to do 200 hrs community service and has to do this on a Sunday from 9 until 5. He also has to go to an anger management or some sort of family course from Monday evening from 5pm until 7pm. This seems excessive as he works pretty much all the time and Sunday is the only time he can rest or see his family. His English is very poor and I think he's not been able to fight his corner when it came to this. Is there a way he can get the community service reduced to say, half the hours on a Sunday?
Shovel1 - 19-Jul-18 @ 10:11 AM
hi I had a fine never paid it went to court got 40 hour community service I've dine 12 hours but missed it 3 times now i need to go back to court it's the first time i ever breached community service will I get another chance to do it or will i get the jail thanks
bob - 17-Jul-18 @ 8:37 PM
Hello, I have today been informed by my probation officer that I am no longer able to partake in the Building Better Relationships program that I have been partaking in and completed the introduction and three one on one sessions.The reason I was given was that they do not feel that the program can help me as I do not recognize any unhelpful behaviors within myself.I was convicted of Section 20, Wounding and sentenced to 12 months suspended, 100 hours community service, a fine and to attend and partake in the BBR program.I have completed all of the community service, have attended all appointments, and have been paying the fine. My probation officer has stated that because I am no longer on the BBR program, the matter must go back to court and my probation officer feels that because I am not on the BBR program, the alternative of 1 on 1 sessions with my probation officer directly, to address my offending behavior, is not suitable. I am concerned, as without an alternative, I feel that a judge is likely to sentence me to the original custodial sentence.I have no prior convictions and have not been in any incidents since my original arrest. What options might be available to me in order to reduce the chances of a custodial sentence and is a judge able to quash the BBR part of the sentence on grounds that this was a decision made by probation and not from a lack of attendance or engaging within the program? I am very concerned about this and would like some help.Thank you.
silenced - 5-Jul-18 @ 2:10 PM
Woody - Your Question:
Hello im in breach of probation for the 1st time and ive been taken to court for this im worried as I have a suspendid sentence 24months 30rar sessions and completed my community service as of may 18 can someone give me some info on what could happen many thanks

Our Response:
You can see more via the link here, which should help answer your question.
CourtroomAdvice - 26-Jun-18 @ 11:46 AM
Hello im in breach of probation for the 1st time and ive been taken to court for this im worried as i have a suspendid sentence 24months 30rar sessions and completed my community service as of may 18 can someone give me some info on what could happen many thanks
Woody - 25-Jun-18 @ 7:01 PM
I have finished my community service. I also have an appeal which is connected the hours i had to complete.What happens if my appeal is overturned. Do i get compensated?
Marc - 19-Mar-18 @ 2:36 PM
Can a probation officer not give a sentencing plan ? My RAR days have been stopped also I got upset I'm mentally ill does the probation officer have to follow mental health act? Can I go back to court for health break down? Thanks
Shavase - 23-Feb-18 @ 12:10 PM
I have been given 2 years community order with 20 hours RAR, 140 hours unpaid work and £300 fine along with SOR and SHPO and Horizon. So after 20 hours RAR, 140 hours of work, paying £300 fine and Horizon program can I migrate to another country before 2 years or I would have to stay here in UKfor 2 years ?
TJP - 5-Feb-18 @ 1:33 PM
Hi, my husband was convicted on 26th June 2014 for common assault and was sentenced to 6 months in prison suspended for 24 months, 150 hours community order and a 12 month supervision order. He breached his community order (by not completing his community service within the 12 months) so he was given an extra 12 months on his supervision order (which ended on 26th June 2016). However prior to it ending he breached his supervision order by missing an appointment therefore the judge added 3 months on to his initial suspended sentence (so suspended for 27 months in total), taking him to September 2016. We are now trying to work out with the addition of the breaches and further sentencing whether his sentence is spent or not?
Lady1 - 25-Jan-18 @ 2:42 AM
Rain - Your Question:
HiMy 19 year old son was at at festival with friends and found 4 pills in a bag in the toliet ,he lifted them to give to event security ,but they didnt believe him and handed him over to the police.The police questioned him ,then escourted him the premises and srnt him home.Afew weeks later he received a court summons and attended court on thst date ,the judge decided to not do anything at that that time ,but decided he needed more back ground info.Solicitor has advised as this is a first office he may be fined or community sentence.He had to go speak to a probation officer so she could get the info that the court need ,now this probation officer has said that I must give up my job (I work with young children in early years) or put my son out of his home.He is due back to court this week to find out what will happen,but this probation officer has phoned me 3 days in a row telling me if I dont inform my employers she will.Is she allowed to do this, Can I be punished for my son trying to do the right thing this is such arsd

Our Response:
This is a tricky question to answer, as while a person can be 'disqualified by association', unless your son is being convicted of supplying drugs to a minor, then this is unlikely to figure. As a rule, the relevant offences of disqualification by association are offences against children, please see link here and a comprehensive list can be found in tables 4 and 5 of Ofsted’s handbook.
CourtroomAdvice - 23-Jan-18 @ 11:38 AM
Hi My 19 year old son was at at festival with friends and found 4 pills in a bag in the toliet ,he lifted them to give to event security ,but they didnt believe him and handed him over to the police.The police questioned him ,then escourted him the premises and srnt him home.Afew weeks later he received a court summons and attended court on thst date ,the judge decided to not do anything at that that time ,but decided he needed more back ground info.Solicitor has advised as this is a first office he may be fined or community sentence.He had to go speak to a probation officer so she could get the info that the court need ,now this probation officer has saidthat I must give up my job (I work with young children in early years) or put my son out of his home .He is due back to court this week to find out what will happen,but this probation officer has phoned me 3 days in a row telling me if I dont inform my employers she will. Is she allowed to do this, Can I be punished for my son trying to do the right thing this is such arsd
Rain - 22-Jan-18 @ 9:04 AM
My son was given community service, broke his foot and had to go back to court as couldn't do the community service with a broken foot. Waited for another letter for a start date to do the community service, when the letter arrived, the start date was a week before he received the letter, now he us most probably looking at a jail sentence through no fault of his own,
Unfair - 30-Dec-17 @ 4:51 PM
I’m currently on Probation for a domestic battery offence. I’m in court on Friday for breaching this by missing one appointment. Earlier this week my girlfriend and I had another row and the police were called. I was not arrested straight away but they asked me to come in for an interview, saying that no statement was made by my girlfriend and they just wanted to talk to me. When the interview started she read out a police statement that said my girlfriend had told him I’d grabbed her wrists. What is the likelihood of this going to court, and if it does, considering this is a breach of my probation again, will I face jail time?
Joe - 12-Dec-17 @ 7:10 PM
the time to make the most out of it beofre everyone caught on an oopend up shop an that is excatly what ha[ppended. and when the [property crash copplase happend thats when thinsg started to take a turn for the worst but as usuall my wife was no where to be seen either out shoppin on net shopppin watchin tv or as usuall on the phone to her family i started questionng myself an her as to why i was breaking my back often puttin in 60 hours a week an all she wanted to know each week an end of the month was can i have some money pls the bills are coming in thick and fast i started at this point feeling abit used that as her nick name was which she use to remind so often princessbut i was no king in the end things got so bad my partners started doing the dirty on me making secret deals saying they wanted to quit then opening up the own sinilar businesses using my ideas i felt helpless degraged and there was nothing i could do at this point we had to sell som of the houses to lowr our over head infact a fewgot repossed this all had a very big effect on me mentally an physical;ly in a big way soon i ended up in hospital a few operations later i found my self full time sick on medciatuon an out of work and business i tried to start again went to re edcuate my self college uni night classes lirbatry readin books etc , all the while begging askin for her to chip in help out if not for me for the future of our 4 kids but no she didnt want to change it was me who was a looser it was me who was the fool the push over for gettin done over by my partners the one who was gulliable the one who fell ill the one who was weak feeble her whole demaner at this point took a turn for the worst her whole charchter changed towards so much in that the love we once had was gone to the point she would share a bed with me , wouldnt share a meal with me an often wanted me out the house to the point of swearin at me cursin me esp front of the kids naturally this wound me up so i would react but really blow my top which i cudnt help then like my worst night mare she started callin the cops on me at times i wpould even know she had done it half way thru an argument she wud jus hit dial biutton after windin me up all the cops could hear was this mad man yellin an screeming thinsg got so bad i got a one bed flat an ended up stayoin there a few nights here an ther as she said it was for the best an would giv us som much needed space so ther i lay often so ill unable to get out of bed not eatin for days confined to bed pissin in abottle whcile she stayed in my luxury flat i bought with the kids i didnt mind as it was the best thing for my kids anyway evetually i slowly picked my self an found a new business to start up again this time i begged her said look lets learn from our past mistakes no more outside help ive got a good idea studied trial ran it for 2 years help me out but guess what she was havin non of it she began to act they way she did all them years a
jayzx - 2-Nov-17 @ 3:16 AM
we are both of south asian descent but born an raised in the uk.we had had an amicable intorduced marraige here in the uk my wife lived 125 miles but after we got married as is custom she came to live with me. i didnt realise at the time but not forced as such but she was coerced into getting married and for whatever reason her parents felt it would be better for her to get out of the area she was living and used marriage as an excuse to get her to move away from where she was born an bought up. in the begining things were fine i had a good job income and she had the very best of everything life had to throw we ended up after 12 years of marriage having 4 beutifull kids a nice home etc. deep down i knew she missed her family esp her siblings which she was very close to and was in regular contact phone visits on a regualr basis prior to me getting married to her she had a good job too , i was self employed and at the time of marriage i and her family we all agreed that she would not only make me a good wife but a business partner too. this was one of the most appealing factors to me getting married to a girl from the uk as apose to what many of our asian familes do is finding a spouse abroad many of my business ventures where very entr[renureul new out the box pioneering ideas which was on the lines of say like a chef or a food manufacturer would have a secret recipe which they would keep close to heart like under lock an key think on the lines of coca cola so when i started up a new venture i was very reluctunt what outside help i would bring in and who i would share talk the ideas through with trying to keep a closely guarded trade secret before the world catches on an copies or opens up shop doing escatly the samr thing you were was one of my worst night mares anyways i first began to notice few years into marriage things were a bit miss for example when i would ask for her help or to sit an discuss things witth me she would always say make excuses say she was busy had thinsg to do or later later , and i increasingly began to notice that her phone wouldnt stop ringing an the handset was always no more than a few metres from where ever she went on the other end it would be one of her family memebers or siblings this was day and night most days i cudnt even get a word in. in my quest to build a better life for us and as money was coming in from work business i began to reinvest heavily buying up property to let out so soon as the money was coming in it was going out fast too but as profits were climbing i didnt really give it a secound thought problems really started arising excalting further after i found she wouldnt want to get in vilved full stop an i eneded up taking up partners often having to give out equal sharing this meant of course money that could be coming into our household me and wife ended up going half elsewhere i knew most of these business i was into word would get around so at best 3 or 4 years was the time to make t
jayzx - 2-Nov-17 @ 3:12 AM
@Louise - I don't think it is negotiable! The court dishes out the punishment as it sees fit.
Chris66 - 14-Sep-17 @ 3:23 PM
My friend has 80 hours of community service to do. He wants to know if he can pay a fine instead of the community service? and if so, who should he contact?
Louise - 12-Sep-17 @ 3:28 PM
My partner was sentenced to 1 year probation, 3 months on tag and 14 month driving ban for driving with an illegal substance in his system. The 3 months have passed so tag is off but he desperately wants to go to rehab. We are looking at a few in the UK and one in Italy. Will he be allowed to go even though he still has over 6 months left of probation? His officer said it wouldn't be easy but perhaps if he showed commitment and attended every Lifeline appointment over the next few months then they might pay for a 10 day detox. Detox is not what he needs. He needs at least 3 months of rehab which includes detox, daily therapy sessions and the 12 step programme. What are his rights? Surely as the offence was drug related it would be in everyone's interest for him to go to rehab and do it properly (all 3 stages) this could mean being away for a year. We are not asking for the system to pay for it either.
jules - 25-Jun-17 @ 3:12 PM
My ex partner got community service for breaching his non molestation order 4 times last year.He got over 100hours all together. Hasn't done no more than 20 hours he got called back to court in March this year got more hours and more fines.To which he hasn't paid a penny of his fines nd still hasn't done his community service.Now his probation officer wants to take it back to court to get the community service dropped as he don't think it is doing him any good..and he is still coming and ringing me making threats.. could this all be real as many people I have spoke to have said how can he getaway with this .what other option can the judge give nd would the judge drop the community service order . I know this is true as I have been informed by the domestic violence team . Thanks
Mum - 22-Jun-17 @ 5:10 PM
My partner was convicted and got 250 hours community service, he only had 16 hours left to do but he was then sentenced to 2 years in prison.They were two separate charges and went to court at different times but both offences occurred at the same time.The judge put two weeks concurrent sentence on for the 2 days of community service that he didn't complete. Does this mean that he won't be eligible for HDC?
Cho77 - 16-Jun-17 @ 1:17 AM
I have been given 120 hours for common Assault, I am in the process of appealing the conviction and today had a case review hearing and was given a hearing date for the end of July, I have asked the judge to put the work order on hold pending the appeal as so far I have completed 40 hours and will have finished by the new hearing date, but the judge was unsure of his powers to suspend the order and I am still waiting for an answer
moatboys - 12-Jun-17 @ 8:33 PM
I was given 250 hours unpaid work still have 190 left has been really hard to get them done as i 3 diffrent shifts and when i am on nightshift my week starts on a sunday night i am also in alot of debt with the courts and other stuff so having been working all the overtime that i can on satuerday and sundays the courts take the money direct from my wages the more i work the more they take and they quicker they get it but the last time i was at unpaid work i had a scurffle with one of the suppvisor he hit me times all i did was take his glasses of coz he was in my face shouting so took them off throw them on grass and walked away thinking he would leave me alone but then he attacked me i am now been breached is likely will go jail
Fifa king - 3-Jun-17 @ 10:27 PM
People need to ear in mind that 'probation' has now been split into two types. The NPS only deal with MAPPA/high risk cases.Everyone else is managed by CRC private companies which are diffierent according to the area of the country.
JJ - 2-May-17 @ 10:21 AM
@Sandrah - if he's on the run and they catch up with him, then he'll probably end up serving the rest of his sentence.
Greg - 11-Apr-17 @ 2:00 PM
Right its been 3 months since my brothers recall to prison. Police have been twice saying it was a standard recal (28 days) that was 1 month ago. Hes basically on the run so to speak. Will he end up doing the rest of his sentence or is it stil going to be 28 days. Thanktou
Sandrah - 11-Apr-17 @ 1:11 AM
My son in law got 80 hrs community service but every weekend he shows up and no case workers do this has happened for the last 5 weeks can we take this back to court as he is having to turn down private work to attend the sessions.
Aline - 2-Apr-17 @ 11:34 AM
Sandrah serdi - Your Question:
My brother has missed probation and hasnt called them to let them know why. Its been 2 weeks he still hasnt called them. He hasnt been staying at hus lisence address allso. Will he be breached or can he call and tell them. Thankyou

Our Response:
You brother could be taken back to court if he breaks any rules of his probation. He can also be taken back to prison if he breaks the conditions of his licence or parole, please see link here.
CourtroomAdvice - 7-Mar-17 @ 12:27 PM
My brother has missed probation and hasnt called them to let them know why. Its been 2 weeks he still hasnt called them. He hasnt been staying at hus lisence address allso.Will he be breached or can he call and tell them . Thankyou
Sandrah serdi - 6-Mar-17 @ 11:44 PM
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