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Probation and Community Sentencing

By: Dave Howell - Updated: 6 Sep 2021 | 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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My 21yr old son hasjust been released from prison. Beforehe was released Ithoughthe would be coming back to my address. A week before my sons social worker called and saidif I knewhe would not be allowed home and that my son was not aware. I havesuffered with mymental health for manyyears andlastyearattemptedto take mylife. My son was in prison fromMay2020. He was calling me every day and saidI shouldn't worry as hewould be outsoon to help me and hisgrandmother. The last few monthsIhavebeenengagingwiththe mental health team andwasgettingbetterwiththeprospect of myson coming home. Thenmyson wastoldthathe was goingto an AP then he wasn't, then he was. No oneknewwheremyson wouldgoingon release fromprison and my son alsohad notbeen told anythingaboutlicenseconditions. On 1stSeptember 2021 myson wastoldthathewould be going intoshared accommodation and has acurfew 7am till7pm. Todayhehas gone to the accommodation itis notfit for adog. There's broken windows furnituredumped in thegarden andthe area isnotgood. It is an areawhere bad things happen on a day to daybasis. My son does not knowanyone in the area and I thought probation was to helptheoffenderfrom offending again , myconcerns as much as he's an adult, he's withdrawn andI don't wantfor him to gethimselfmixed up with others. There's nothing wrong withwherewe livehehasgothisbedroom. He knowswhat he wants to do now with his life. There no criminal activitywherewe live. I cant see whyhecould nothavejust be senthome with acurfew. I cant see howhissituation will bebeneficialorahelpto him in anyway. Yetsome oneI know whoisjust likemyson wasable to returnbackto their familyhome. I feel like no ones on the same page. It's like they wanthim to fail not better himself
Goldengirl - 6-Sep-21 @ 7:09 PM
My 21yr old son hasjust been released from prison. Beforehe was released Ithoughthe would be coming back to my address. A week before my sons social worker called and saidif I knewhe would not be allowed home and that my son was not aware. I havesuffered with mymental health for manyyears andlastyearattemptedto take mylife. My son was in prison fromMay2020. He was calling me every day and saidI shouldn't worry as hewould be outsoon to help me and hisgrandmother. The last few monthsIhavebeenengagingwiththe mental health team andwasgettingbetterwiththeprospect of myson coming home. Thenmyson wastoldthathe was goingto an AP then he wasn't, then he was. No oneknewwheremyson wouldgoingon release fromprison and my son alsohad notbeen told anythingaboutlicenseconditions. On 1stSeptember 2021 myson wastoldthathewould be going intoshared accommodation and has acurfew 7am till7pm. Todayhehas gone to the accommodation itis notfit for adog. There's broken windows furnituredumped in thegarden andthe area isnotgood. It is an areawhere bad things happen on a day to daybasis. My son does not knowanyone in the area and I thought probation was to helptheoffenderfrom offending again , myconcerns as much as he's an adult, he's withdrawn andI don't wantfor him to gethimselfmixed up with others. There's nothing wrong withwherewe livehehasgothisbedroom. He knowswhat he wants to do now with his life. There no criminal activitywherewe live. I cant see whyhecould nothavejust be senthome with acurfew. I cant see howhissituation will bebeneficialorahelpto him in anyway. Yetsome oneI know whoisjust likemyson wasable to returnbackto their familyhome. I feel like no ones on the same page. It's like they wanthim to fail not better himself
Goldengirl - 6-Sep-21 @ 7:05 PM
Can Probaition stick another 6 months to my order without a court order , my 2 year court sentence has almost come to an end but I have been given this 6 month extension due to COVID it was out of my control I’ve paid over 1700 in fines attending courses and any Probaition I have been given without fail but 250 hours community payback still outstanding due to this can someone please enlighten me many thanks
Hungry01 - 18-Aug-21 @ 9:05 PM
Under community payback can I work and get job?
Jase - 10-Aug-21 @ 5:03 PM
Hi my son has been recalled no one wants to tell me why and I am devastated to say the least. He was doing so well, then all of a sudden there was the police knocking at his door. He handed himself into the police station and I don't know what is happening to him. If you can enlighten me it would be appreciated. Thank you
Sophie57 - 25-May-21 @ 7:09 AM
If you don't attend probation and have also failed to attend any community service, is there a high possibility that a prison sentence will be sentenced? I've never been to prison before and that was my first court appearance and first arrest and what not, however I never attended either probation or community service, I'm well aware that a warrant was issued (this was almost 2 years ago since they issued my arrest warrant) when they finally catch up with me, is It more than likely that a custodial sentence will be issued??
Jandoe - 22-Apr-21 @ 4:25 AM
Hi, can I pay for the unpaid working hours that I got in the comunity order?
Danielxxn - 21-Apr-21 @ 8:19 PM
Hi, can I buy the unpaid work hours that I got in the comunity order?
Danielxxn - 21-Apr-21 @ 8:18 PM
Can someone advise... friend got into trouble and is on probation for assaultwith intent. He now suffers with schizophreniathough a breakdown. Doesnt work. .... but is being hounded by speeding fines from his past.... they want payment immediately but cant pay untillnext week. Can he go to prision
Concerned - 12-Mar-21 @ 2:23 PM
Nps officer isnt even trying to contact me about my husband returning to the family home he went to approved premises on a short basis 3 months max while ss safeguarding was conducted all this was done within 3 weeks ss have no problem with my husband returning to the family and asked for a transition date to be asap yet nps still haven't let my husband home and refuses to even contact me how us he supposed to return home wen. Nps officer refuses to speak to me about it surely this is not right she is making my family life miserable and is causing my 5 year old grandson who has only his grandad as a male in his life to cry and get upset any advice pks
Dizzy - 1-Feb-21 @ 11:28 PM
Hi, I wondered if someone could help, my ex admitted assault by beating in Jan 2020 to myself. He was given a community order and probation for 2 years. In the 2 years during probation can he come anywhere near me? I have a non-molestation order at the moment which runs out in March but worried I won't get an extension and he will come round.
Keels - 30-Jan-21 @ 3:29 PM
My husband got 12 month probation and 60 hours unpaid work for drink driving, which started back in March last year. Because of the lockdown and later injury to his leg he wasn't able to start it. Now, he has a court hearing next month. What should we expect, and is it possible that court order will be revoked as he still is unable to walk properly. Thank you
KC - 15-Jan-21 @ 8:23 AM
The police target anyone who has cropped up before In the criminal justice system .You can be accused of all sorts of things without actually doing anything.I was in a relationship three years ago ,the police would be called due to arguing and crying .when the police got there it was just me left crying and hysterical from trauma and abuse ,they would then say they have no choice but to arrested me.they were coming out at least twice a week and 95% of the time they would take me to the cells for "assaulting them" where they would continue to assault me.i was once so uncontrollably upset that after they stripped me naked a police women stuck her hand inside me searching my stomach for treasure or maybe interserting some kind of spying equipment I don't know what she was thinking. The day came where I could not take the police abuse aswell as my partner's anymore.I chased him ,I wanted him to die I was in so much pain I couldn't understand how I could feel it... They put me in prison ,people asked what I was in for and I didn't even know... Metropolitan Bury St.Edmunds Police
louisepage - 7-Jan-21 @ 2:40 PM
Could I have some help please . Me and my ex partner are separated with me having a new partner. . 2 years ago I called police to him “kicking off” at my property to which the police attended he was refusing to leave, theywent to his property where he got Arsey with them and declined arrest for 10 hours and later got remanded for having 2 CS gas in his property. He was not charged withanything to do with myself , but got 29 months for firearms . He went to prison and me and the children have had regular visits , and made a good friendship and mutual ground , we had plans in regards to the kids for when he returned ( not in a relationship ) When he was released from prison his lisence condition was that he can’t contact me or come to my home etc even though he wasn’t convicted of anything to do with me , and the judge hasn’t recommended no contact me . I’ve been visiting the prison for 18month with the children which his then probation officer new and was fine about . Now I’m being told we can’t have contact for 12 months . Is this allowed ? Seeing as his sentence is for possessing firearms in his property Also I rang the probation officer who told me if I wish to discuss anything with him then I am to write it in a book and give it to her to check before she allows him to read it . Am I right In reminding her that I’m not on probation or under any obligation to do that due to the fact I have no conditions on me ... so actually I could text him what I need to say , and it’s only if he replies that it’s breAched . He hasn’t breached if I’ve messaged him as I’m not the one who’s got conditions? Also does anyon know if I have any rights to be removed off the conditions ? Sorry for the long post ha ha
Lea - 23-Nov-20 @ 9:14 PM
Could I have some help please . Me and my ex partner are separated with me having a new partner. . 2 years ago I called police to him “kicking off” at my property to which the police attended he was refusing to leave, theywent to his property where he got Arsey with them and declined arrest for 10 hours and later got remanded for having 2 CS gas in his property. He was not charged withanything to do with myself , but got 29 months for firearms . He went to prison and me and the children have had regular visits , and made a good friendship and mutual ground , we had plans in regards to the kids for when he returned ( not in a relationship ) When he was released from prison his lisence condition was that he can’t contact me or come to my home etc even though he wasn’t convicted of anything to do with me , and the judge hasn’t recommended no contact me . I’ve been visiting the prison for 18month with the children which his then probation officer new and was fine about . Now I’m being told we can’t have contact for 12 months . Is this allowed ? Seeing as his sentence is for possessing firearms in his property Also I rang the probation officer who told me if I wish to discuss anything with him then I am to write it in a book and give it to her to check before she allows him to read it . Am I right In reminding her that I’m not on probation or under any obligation to do that due to the fact I have no conditions on me ... so actually I could text him what I need to say , and it’s only if he replies that it’s breAched . He hasn’t breached if I’ve messaged him as I’m not the one who’s got conditions? Also does anyon know if I have any rights to be removed off the conditions ? Sorry for the long post ha ha
Lea - 23-Nov-20 @ 5:51 PM
My partner left the country as he was on probation and he didn't let know the officer When he came back thay rest him we waiting for court.... What he can expect in the worst outcome.
Lida - 21-Nov-20 @ 5:59 PM
schedule in place where my husband cannot leave his house for more than 24 hours. I live 4 hours away. Probation have then gone into say that he could visit for the weekend whole he does his order upw bbr and rar in the weekday however when he has informed probation he is visiting his family as he was told he could Friday to Sunday probation are meeting him on the Friday and now have said he cannot leave for more then 24 hours can probation do this if there is no court order deemed for this? He has asked for the paper work and they refuse to give it social services and not belong the matter saying he is welcomed to come down but will not inform probation that they are aware of him coming as they say it's not their job but probation will not let him come down unless SoCal services say to them they are aware. My husband is scared of being breached again he is beginning to give up and they continue to destoy his mental health. Can probation place a 24hour return to home address without applaying to court for it? My husband is engaging with all his orders. Need help advice with this please.
Something2 - 19-Nov-20 @ 4:27 AM
schedule in place where my husband cannot leave his house for more than 24 hours. I live 4 hours away. Probation have then gone into say that he could visit for the weekend whole he does his order upw bbr and rar in the weekday however when he has informed probation he is visiting his family as he was told he could Friday to Sunday probation are meeting him on the Friday and now have said he cannot leave for more then 24 hours can probation do this if there is no court order deemed for this? He has asked for the paper work and they refuse to give it social services and not belong the matter saying he is welcomed to come down but will not inform probation that they are aware of him coming as they say it's not their job but probation will not let him come down unless SoCal services say to them they are aware. My husband is scared of being breached again he is beginning to give up and they continue to destoy his mental health. Can probation place a 24hour return to home address without applaying to court for it? My husband is engaging with all his orders. Need help advice with this please.
Something2 - 18-Nov-20 @ 3:38 AM
I've been breached for my community payback order during covid, do I go back up for the original charge as well as the breach of community payback order ???
Burnsy - 30-Oct-20 @ 2:17 AM
A friend has broken there probation by leaving country and gone abroad just weeks before there probation period is up what will happen the police are aware of this happening
Saz - 12-Oct-20 @ 2:19 PM
Cf94. Ive just had a court case for using someone else's card I spent£238 but paid back £250. I've got 80 hours unpaid work ,£408 fine and 3 months electronic tag at night. I've lost my job also. I've refused to wear the tag so no doubt I'll be back in court soon.I have mental health issue and can't wear a tag,I'd rather be dead. Scared I'm going to prison.
Manda - 11-Sep-20 @ 8:05 PM
I have been given 40 rar days and wanted to know what will happen if I do not engage with them I have been given a 2 year suspension on my sentence and that was in January this year 2020 what will happen if I don’t engage in session please Thank you
N - 29-Aug-20 @ 5:48 AM
I was kidnapped and assaulted by a far right racist. I managed to escape and call the police. I blacked out as I had my head smashed off against a wall several time and woke up the next day in a police cell. I had been done for drunk and disorderly (I had a bad head injury) assaulting a police officer (apparently I kicked a police officer but there was no evidence on body cam but was told his word would be believed over mine) and having a knuckleduster (has a rucksack and a 2inch pen knife was found deep in the lining of the bag I didn’t know was there). Bromley Police berated me the next Day saying if I wanted to press charges on the man they could keep me in the cells for 48 hours. My crap solicitor at court told me to plead guilty (basically she knew I wasn’t got to be a big earner for her) and I was in such a mess I couldn’t handle a court case. Now have 120 community service. Probation officer has told me because of covid she is going to apply for an extension of my 12 month community order which means it won’t be spent for another year. The system is a joke. Found out later the police tried to get me back in the house with the man that attacked me. Tell your daughters to be careful because the police hate women and have no idea how to handle cases like this. I was threatened with jail time if I took the matter with the man any further so I believe their may be corruption with Bromley police.
Nothappy - 22-Aug-20 @ 5:20 PM
Hi My son is currently doing unpaid work for a 12 month suspended sentence last October. He is currently under mental health for unstable emotional state, dissocial behaviour and they have given him medication.He has struggled before and at the start of the lockdown but with my husband's, mental health, his PA and my help he is a different boy.He was a smelly dirty, choosing non positive friends, he couldn't sleep and was not eating and his flat reflected this by being really filthy.My husband andhim got his flat cleaned up.He has always done the unpaid work but has clashed with the supervisor (which he still has now).He has over the last couple of months been with me on various gardening jobs with various clients.I have had no problem working with him and I can see he has gained the respect of our clients by being polite, hardworking and taking inititiative. He has asked repeatedly to change his work group so that he can work with another supervisor.This has been refused and he has now been told by his new probation manager that his case is going back to courts.One of our clients who is a Barrister has known my son for some time and has written a character reference to be given to the probation manager ...she did read it finally...If this goes back to court what will be the outcome of this...will he go to prison...and how can we help with this
Lofty - 13-Aug-20 @ 7:00 PM
Needsome advise I recentlyhad court cases adjouned by theFamily courst with no notice given by the court office, Hearing cancelled30 minutesbefore hearing was due to start (by Judges) 6th Dec 2019- £1,800 ( my legal cost) 6th July 2020 - £1, 200(my Legal cost ) Samecourt case Can I get the court to pay my court fees of £3k? Thanks
BC - 26-Jul-20 @ 1:38 PM
A friend of mine used a card of an individual she was looking after and with drew 1000 pounds. She had postnatal depression and was in debt with threats of bailiffs. She has participated in a voluntary interview and admitted everything. She's now waiting to hear back. This is her first ever offence, will she be looking at a community order or much more?
Cf94 - 10-Jun-20 @ 2:45 PM
LT026 Spared 8 years in jail... I cannot answer your question if you exaggerate
Truth - 3-May-20 @ 12:15 PM
Hi am need some help on my son he has disability and learning disabilities and OCDADHD he was in courtfor missingprobationand he was on 12 months tag and got taken of it early go 24 months where shouldn't get in troublefine of 1000 pound and pay back and he had some changes in is life and a lot of health problems and mental healthhe had sick notes and becauseof missingprobation he done most of is tag so he had it taken ofhe gone to court thinking he wouldn't go to jail and he had sick notes for missedappointment i need help on how to appealwith is case evidence he has to say he been I'll alone side is hospitalappointmentsand don't think it's right he been sent too jail with all the in payedand fine and tag he done and not taken any of that in toit and sent him to jail no one helpinghim to understandthings when he as learning disabilitiesI need to get help on tryingto appealon it anyone help me thanks
Kellans40 - 22-Dec-19 @ 2:24 AM
I pleaded guilty on the advice of my solicitor who advised plead guilty as it will all go away. So on his professional advice I did. What a fool was I. I now have 3 Assaulted and Battery charges and 2 for criminal damage. I did not commit 3 of these offences and I understand we all say that but I didn't. He kept telling me to plead guilty he wore me down so I pleaded guilty. What a fool was I. At the magistrate court hearing nothing that happened to me came out. I was assaulted by 2 of the so called victims. One who says he is disabled but still is able to drive an articulated lorry. The magistrate's say it was a hate crime. I have constantly been indimitaded by 1 of the umm victims. I have scars on my body and 1 of the victims states in his witnessed statement he pushed me over. My partner was hit over the head by the victims and had to go to hospital. As I at the time of court had a sick note due to anxiety and stress I was unable to do comunity pay back. They sentence me to 5 month curfew from 7pm to 7am 7 days a week. My family live a 3 hour drive from me. My mum is in a care home in the final stages of dimension. My dad is 86 has cancer and other major health issues but those lovely magistrates did not give a dam. I might as well have gone to prison. This was my first effence. Even the prosecutor was shocked at the harshness of the sentence. I am totally devastated as I am unable to see my family. For all of you in this situation I wish you the strength to get through this. I am totally devastated.
Sad Lady - 4-Dec-19 @ 3:25 PM
I am a female & was charged with drink driving & was given 200 hours by the courts & ordered to see a probation officer on a weekly/two weekly basis. The probation officer didnt think it suitable for me to be collected by the probation services van they provided me & sweep streets etc & placed me in a local womens centre instead. I am now having to provide me own transport by which I have completed 50 hours costing me £150 on the bus so far. Is this fair because I really cannot afford a further £450 to complete the hours?
Tracy - 3-Dec-19 @ 7:57 PM
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