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Probation and Community Sentencing

By: Dave Howell - Updated: 21 Mar 2024 | 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've been asking to move office for the last 3 months. My probation office has refused to move me.ive served 2 years on licence without any problems and seems the office I'm with want help me with nothing .I'm going round in circles. I should of been moved because of the area. But when tried to be negative towards me and I asked not to there playing games.and it strongly feel they are provoking me to a breachand no other probstion will not give me advice
Shem - 21-Mar-24 @ 9:58 AM
I finished my order in January I am up for breach in April now my order is finished do I have to still attend probation until court I don’t understand why I am still being asked to attend probation wen I finished it thanks
Loger - 5-Mar-24 @ 4:59 PM
I'm on probation but not on licence I've breeched my probation 3 times will i go prison
anne - 23-Nov-23 @ 3:18 AM
My partner has been recalled for allegations against him, these were retracted straight away and no police involvement, his probation have falsified information on his dossier and they have withheld information, his scores are all low/medium, his probation are not backing his release even though now new charges brought and no breaking of licence conditions how can this be ???? What is he is chances of release on the papers ??
Hard done to - 7-Sep-23 @ 5:03 PM
When I was given 200 hours unpaid work to complete, I was not working but the probation service couldn’t place me at the time. Now I’m working full time (and then some in order to pay bills and keep a roof over my head) and unable to complete any unpaid hours - especially with my mental health being quite bad, it’s a struggle to get out of bed most days. Is there another way this can be approached and paid back eg an additional fine instead?
Fedup1990 - 6-Sep-23 @ 8:53 PM
Hi I was put on a 24 months 2 years suspend sentence I missed a couple of appointments due to my serve mental health and I let them know that I could not attend because I had suicidal thoughts been recalled back to court and now I have been attending all my appointments and Iam going back to work and I was just wondering what will happen when I go to court thanks
Rosie300 - 25-Jul-23 @ 6:06 PM
Hi I was put on a 24 months 2 years suspend sentence I missed a couple of appointments due to my serve mental and I let them know that I could not attend because I had suicidal thoughts been recalled back to court and now I have been attending all my appointments and Iam going back to work and I was just wondering what will happen when I go to court thanks
Rosie300 - 25-Jul-23 @ 6:05 PM
I was given a two year suspended sentence and it ends in October 2023.Will I still be under the probation services until the offence is spent?
PD9686 - 18-Jul-23 @ 5:37 PM
I was sentenced to 100 hrs unpaid work, but and the probation service applied for an extension which was rejected by the court. I'm not sure what this means? The probation officer said they'll be in touch if they decide to pursue the matter, but I don't know what happens now.
Yorksman - 23-May-23 @ 6:19 PM
I’m coming to the end of a 18 month suspended sentence and I have completed my unpaid work hours but not my RAR days when my suspended sentence is up do I legally have to do them. They haven’t bothered to get me to do them during the 18 months
K123 - 20-Mar-23 @ 7:39 PM
Can my probation officer ask who I date and put me on a 20 day course for drink driving plus turn up to my property unannounced?
Govner - 18-Mar-23 @ 9:10 PM
Was convicted of a crime, sentenced to a community restoration order(?) In august 2022 I find the whole of probation a real minefield, with the mis communication, lack of charity initiatives, the punitive, draconian measures one must meet, otherwise the person of power can add other harsh conditions including Prison The probation appointment I had yesterday was awful, and very disparaging I dread to think about potential ramificationsand really upsets me that someone there can apply warnings, quite rigid and its horrible
Angel - 3-Feb-23 @ 1:00 AM
I have not been offered any work to pay back my hours.My order ended 20 December 2022.How does this work?
LadyG - 7-Jan-23 @ 4:02 PM
Sort codes 600902 Account 76729133
CONNERS - 4-Jan-23 @ 6:43 AM
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
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