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Probation and Community Sentencing

By: Dave Howell - Updated: 22 Jan 2017 | 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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I have 150 hour unpaid work But I can't do it almost I do 6 to 7 days work what shall I do who should I speak
Tabi - 22-Jan-17 @ 10:53 PM
My daughter s just completed a 28 curfew for a drink driving offence.She was surprised to get a summons to go to court for a breach of conditions without reasonable explanation.The time oh the incident seems to relate to when the tag fell off because it was either faulty or not fitted correctly (I was present when it was fitted and the officer almost went to get a different unit as she had trouble fitting it).She was contacted straight away by phone, she explained what had happened and another tag was fitted the same day.We assumed that was the end of the matter.At no time has she been asked for a formal explanation.She has asked for a copy of the report sent the enforcement officer but this has not materialised.What will happen at court?What can she do before the court date?She has tried ringing the phone no on the summons but just gets an automatic response.Has correct procedure been followed here?
Alien - 19-Jan-17 @ 1:35 PM
I was wrong fully convicted of a crime. I pleaded not guilty. I logged an appeal with the magistrates straight away even before sentencing.I was given a community order of 100 hours which I completed. I have now won my appeal at the crown court. So effectively the crime never took place.But the punishment did. Should I be entitled to compensation for the 100 hours community service I worked ? Also. The wrong conviction directly ended my job as a security guard. The SIA would not renew my badge so I could not continue the job I had been in for 6 years. So the wrong decision by Scarborough Magistrates directly stopped my career. I believe I should be entitled to compensation for that ? How do I go about that ? Thank you.
JustPaul - 16-Jan-17 @ 1:09 PM
Please explain what is the standard court procedure. He hasn't violated the probation. They were aware of all this. We feel it's really unfair.
Don - 13-Jan-17 @ 8:04 PM
I ve been sentenced to 80 hours community service and because I work away and at weekends the court has given me 12 months to complete it. I ve been in touch with the probation officer and she has informed me that I have to guarantee at least one day a week or it will be referred back to court and I will get a custodial sentence because I can't guarantee one day a week. After much haggling and pleading from myself she agreed to one day every fortnight but due to my work I can't guarantee that as some weekends I don't manage to get back home. If the court has given me 12 months to complete the order why is she telling me I ve got to complete it within a couple of months ? This is stressing me out quite a bit at the moment because if my boss hears about it I will get sacked. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Kev99 - 12-Jan-17 @ 8:08 PM
My husband has been sentenced to 2 years in prison followed by 1 year supervised release order, does this mean he'll serve the full 2 years??
kiki06 - 11-Jan-17 @ 6:51 PM
DON - Your Question:
Hi My son has problems with drugs. He was also attending the probation form 2015. His licenence was about to finish in November 2016. we as a family was very worried as he was on Methadone form 9 months but his mental and physical health wasnt improving. he was having suicidal thoughts. He was trying to get the job but struggling because of his records. He was trying to attend the local community recovery groups for support but nothing was working. We as a family decided to send him for rehab. Searched in the uk and visited some they were far more expensive than over pocket. We found one out side the country and send him for treatment in September. He is still going through the recovery. We gave all the details to probation after he was admitted. There was no correspondence received from the probation however today the police officer came on the door and told us that they have arrest warrant for my son for not attending court for not attending probation. We got very worried as we have told everything to the probation and nothing was hidden. We want to know how the arrest warrant can be removed as when he will come back to the country it will flag up. He is doing really well and we feel that it is going to create another barrier for him.Please advise.

Our Response:
If your son is considered to have violated the terms of his probation, (especially not attending court) then the consequences are standard procedure.
CourtroomAdvice - 11-Jan-17 @ 12:37 PM
Hi My son has problems with drugs. Hewas also attending the probation form 2015. His licenence was about to finish in November 2016.we as a family was very worried as he was on Methadone form 9 months but his mental and physical health wasnt improving. he was having suicidal thoughts. He was trying to get the job but struggling because of his records. He was trying to attend the local community recovery groups for support but nothing was working. We as a family decided to send him for rehab. Searched in the uk and visited some they were far more expensive than over pocket. We found one out side the country and send him for treatment in September. He is still going through therecovery. We gave all the details to probation after he was admitted.There was no correspondence received from the probation however today the police officer came on the door and told us that they have arrest warrant for my son for not attending court for not attending probation. We got very worried as we have told everything to the probation and nothing was hidden. We want to know how the arrest warrant can be removed as when he will come back to the country it will flag up. He is doing really well and we feel that it is going to create another barrier for him. Please advise.
DON - 10-Jan-17 @ 7:40 PM
Well I was arrested for defending myself while pregnant and now I am pregnant again and I have a doctor note saying can not do any lifting or standing and I am bed rest what can I do
Krista - 9-Jan-17 @ 5:53 AM
Well I was arrested for defending myself while pregnant and now I am pregnant again and I have a doctor note saying can not do any lifting or standing and I am bed rest
Krista - 9-Jan-17 @ 5:51 AM
My husband has been arrested and will be in court on Monday, he is currently on a supervision order for past domestic incidents which is due to end next month, he has been arrested for breach of the peace as we were both arguing and a neighbour called the police. He hasnt done anything wrong this time. What is likely to happen to him and will I be charged to.
kim - 7-Jan-17 @ 9:55 PM
Ttmx - Your Question:
Hi my partner just got convicted and is a serving a year in prison for assualt on me, he broke my finger and gave me a really bad black eye amongst other things, the cps carried in with a victimless prosecution as I found it too difficult and impossible too give evidence against him. This may sound very ridiculous but he was made to sign a form to not contact me nor can I visit him, my mother I think was behind this as I accidentally told her he called me once from prison. Are there any laws strictly stopping me from being able to visit my ex partner ? How do I now make it possible to visit him ? I'm scared of peoples judgment regarding the situation, so im really left with no one to help me regarding this. Thank you very much.

Our Response:
I think in this case you may wish to speak to Women's Aid, please see link here, or Offenders' Families helpline here as you don't say who made you sign the form (i.e the court or Social Services) and whether the form is binding. Therefore, it makes it difficult to advise. However, please keep in mind that if you do visit your partner against any order, then the visit will be logged and recorded and this may impact upon you in the future.
CourtroomAdvice - 3-Jan-17 @ 11:44 AM
Hi My son's probation officer has asked him to provide a family tree going back to great grandparents to show his support network. He is supposed to provide names, ages and who knows about his conviction and who is supportive. We have asked all the people concerned and with the exception of one person all have said they don't want their details (names & ages) being used. They have said it is ok to put their relationship with my son and whether they know and/or support him but no other details. Is this ok ? Has his P.O. overstepped the mark by asking for personal & private info without asking for permission from the people involved ?C.K
C.K - 2-Jan-17 @ 10:32 PM
Hi my partner just got convicted and is a serving a year in prison for assualt on me, he broke my finger and gave me a really bad black eye amongst other things, the cps carried in with a victimless prosecution as I found it too difficult and impossible too give evidence against him. This may sound very ridiculous but he was made to sign a form to not contact me nor can I visit him, my mother I think was behind this as I accidentally told her he called me once from prison. Are there any laws strictly stopping me from being able to visit my ex partner ? How do I now make it possible to visit him ? I'm scared of peoples judgment regarding the situation, so im really left with no one to help me regarding this. Thank you very much.
Ttmx - 2-Jan-17 @ 9:13 AM
I just wanted to ask because I am really confused...my boyfriend got six years in prison and I found out you only do half of the sentence in the prison and the rest put of prison but what will happen if he is getting deported from the country?? Does he have to do the whole sentence ??? I am really confused thank you anyone who takes the time to read this and hopefully answer my question!!!
Sabz.1 - 27-Dec-16 @ 11:47 PM
I meant to say he hasn't been before the courts for over 16 yrs.ended upwith a fine & lost license for 3mths.
Louie - 26-Dec-16 @ 5:28 AM
My partner got caught dui & speeding Christmas night. He hasn't had a similar incident for over16yrs. He has over 5 different catorgories of licenses. What is his chances of losing them all
Louie - 26-Dec-16 @ 5:13 AM
@rj - your HDC tag may be revoked and you could be recalled to prison to finish your sentence.
DS - 19-Dec-16 @ 12:30 PM
i was put on tag for 3 months i ended up breaching it 2 times and pulled it of my leg ive been summoned to go back to court on the 19th of this month does anyone know what will could happen
rj - 16-Dec-16 @ 10:55 PM
Who do contact regarding a complaint against the PPU in Wales/Cardiff.
jd20 - 27-Nov-16 @ 10:57 PM
Is there anything that can stop be doing that i am also just on a suspended sentence for intent to supply
Oioi - 22-Nov-16 @ 10:36 PM
I have been give 250 hours unpaid work but have the chance to move back to iceland to live and and work with family
Oioi - 22-Nov-16 @ 10:33 PM
I have been arrested and charged with section 39. I have been previously sentenced to supervision. I stand to lose everything including my job as a sales manager. My partner and I are stressed as I look after our daughter whilst she works and also attends university.
JASe1 - 7-Nov-16 @ 12:12 PM
i run my own company that was based at my home address and its an ltd. me my partner split up and that iv been arested under section 39 common assult. iv been arrested and not allowedcontact with my ex wife and not allowed in the street. if i do im.braking bail condtions. before i was bailed i asked can i go down to the property with a police officer and retive my belongings and he said yes when i signed my bail conditions and now they saying im not allowed i have no money no clothw no transport for work and the money and the buisness account is over drawn. where do i stand in getting my personal belongings company van and equipment as im the director folders etc
lem - 31-Oct-16 @ 11:33 PM
Dan - Your Question:
I'm really stressed out I'm 18 years old I was out on probation 3 months ago now I'm being breached as I have missed 3 appointments and haven't made contact with the officer, what do I do? Will I go to jail? What can I do to avoid it, I haven't been arrested or done anything wrong since my las offence it was a young mistake, I just haven't been to these probation meetings but I haven't recieved anything in the post for the dates that are listed, I am confused what do I do? My parents are old and I'll they do not understand what goes on. I need help

Our Response:
When you are given probation, it is conditional that you report to your probation officer. If you fail to report to your scheduled appointment, you run the risk of your probation officer charging you with a probation violation, which would mean you would have to once again appear before the court for the judge to decide what your punishment will be. The punishment may mean you have to serve the remaining amount of time of your original sentence. However, we cannot predict what course of action your probation officer will take. As specified in the article, 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.
CourtroomAdvice - 21-Oct-16 @ 11:14 AM
I'm really stressed out I'm 18 years old I was out on probation 3 months ago now I'm being breached as I have missed 3 appointments and haven't made contact with the officer, what do I do? Will I go to jail? What can I do to avoid it, I haven't been arrested or done anything wrong since my las offence it was a young mistake, I just haven't been to these probation meetings but I haven't recieved anything in the post for the dates that are listed, I am confused what do I do? My parents are old and I'll they do not understand what goes on. I need help
Dan - 20-Oct-16 @ 1:32 PM
Hi i was wondering my husband as to go to court with domestic violence towards me. I had asked this to not go to court but the pps have went ahead with it. He was convicted back in 2006/7 with a 2 year probation order with the same offence. There has been no more violence towards me right up to this september. Wondering would he go to prison. Wee have been laising with social service. He has to go on an anger management course that social services have put him on. If he presents this to the court on his date to plead gulity or not guilty would this help with the case. Wee dont want him going to prison due to having a 1 year old. He would lose his job and I would not be intitled to any benifits or anything.
Hellsangel6482 - 10-Oct-16 @ 4:30 PM
Hi mine sun was on probation for 3 years and disqualified do not drive for six years and jest recently have car accident,but is was not driving but the police thinking is did,Wat it wars case scenario it can wait?
Toto - 5-Oct-16 @ 11:24 PM
My ex partner was charged with domestic violence a while back and they placeda restraining order on him, over the course of a few weeks he has sent numerous nasty abusive texts to me and explicit photos, he has nowbeen arrested for it, what is the likely outcome to be? He has a previous record for violence and alot more and was arrested 3 times over last few months while he was still with me. He also only came off a suspended sentence last month I don't know if that will be taking into account? Any ideas from anyone I'd be grateful, bit of a nervous time for me right now:(
Sara - 5-Oct-16 @ 12:56 AM
I have community pay back today, but i am unable to go as i have an infection in my eye. I was told about a form you fill out when ill and which will save you from getting a warning for not attending. How to i go about this do i go in and phone up and fill the form out the next time im in or today, and what is the form called?
Locc - 1-Oct-16 @ 6:59 AM
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