Community Service Orders

A community order will be imposed for offences that are serious but not so serious as to warrant custody. A generic community order will be imposed and the Court can choose from 12 requirements to add to the order.
The requirements which are applicable are:

  1. Supervision
  2. Prohibited activity
  3. Exclusion
  4. Curfew
  5. Education, training and employment (specified activity) requirements
  6. Unpaid work
  7. An offending behaviour programme
  8. Attendance centre
  9. Drug rehabilitation
  10. Mental health treatment
  11. Alcohol treatment
  12. Residence

 

For less serious offences you may receive just one requirement as part of your order. For more serious offences, or if this is not your first offence, you may receive three or four requirements. Supervision by the probation service is usually one of the requirements.
Supervision is where you will be supervised by a member of the offender management team – either a Probation Officer or a Probation Service Officer. They will meet with you on a regular basis to ensure that you are complying with the order, and  they will work closely with colleagues in the Interventions team who will arrange or deliver any other requirements to which you have been sentenced. They will work out a supervision plan for your sentence which you will be shown and which will be discussed with you. You will be expected to meet with the officer on a regular basis, initially at least weekly.

Prohibited activity is where you are not allowed to do something, such as attend football matches if your crime was football related. This is intended to prevent further offending by preventing you from doing something.

Exclusion  means that you cannot go to a certain place/places on certain days and at certain times. This may be a part of a town, a house or an event such as a football match. You may also be electronically monitored (tagged) to ensure that you comply

Curfew means that you must be in a particular place at certain times, for example your home. This will be for between 2 and 12 hours per day depending on the sentence.  Like the exclusion you may be tagged to ensure you obey the rules.

Education, training and employment  (ETE) can be  part of your community order. You will usually receive this requirement if you have not obtained GCSEs and you are unemployed. The logic is that with better reading, writing and numeracy skills you have a better chance of finding a job or gaining a college place. The court can order you to carry out either ten, 25 or 60 days of the activity. These may not be full days. Most sessions last about two hours. The number of days ordered will depend on the seriousness of your offence, your current qualifications, skills level, previous offending behaviour and employment situation.
i.      If you are sentenced to ten days of this requirement you will:

  • Be assessed on your reading, writing and numeracy skills
  • Be asked about your employment situation
  • Receive one information, advice and guidance session
  • Attend reading, writing and numeracy tuition with a view to gaining an award

   ii.      If you are sentenced to 25 days of this requirement you will:

  • Be assessed on your reading, writing and numeracy skills
  • Be asked about your employment situation
  • Receive one information, advice and guidance session plus follow up sessions
  • Attend reading, writing and numeracy tuition with a view to gaining an award
  • Receive employment advice from specialist staff

iii.      If you are sentenced to 60 days of this requirement you will:

  • Be assessed on your reading, writing and numeracy skills
  • Be asked about your employment situation
  • Receive one information, advice and guidance session plus follow up sessions
  • Attend reading, writing and numeracy tuition with a view to gaining an award
  • Receive employment advice
  • Receive intensive assistance with job seeking

Unpaid work is what it says on the tin. You may be required to undertake various unskilled tasks such as collecting litter under the control of the probation service.

An offending behaviour programme may be included in your sentence, designed to help you stop re-offending.
If you have received such an order, you will be required to attend an  accredited offending behaviour programme that consists of group work sessions, including some written work, and usually some one to one work with your offender manager. If you have difficulty with reading and writing you will be given assistance by a mentor to help you with this.
You may be sentenced to attend one of these programmes if you are:

  • Aged 18 or over
  • Have an IQ of 80 or more
  • Motivated to change
  • Respond well to supervision
  • Free of chaotic drink/drug abuse problems or mental health problems

The programmes which are commonly offered are :

  • Drink Impaired Drivers Programme (DIDP)
  • Aggression Replacement Training (ART)
  • Thinking Skills Programme
  • Integrated Domestic Abuse Programme
  • Women’s Programme
  • One to One Programme
  • Offender Substance Abuse Programme

If you have been sentenced to a programme you must attend every session and turn up on time. You can be returned to court if you fail to attend without an acceptable reason. Even if you miss sessions for acceptable reasons you may be required to re-take modules. These programs are not to be taken lightly and you must behave appropriately and participate in each session. Poor behaviour, including offensive/racist language, will not be tolerated in the group. Your programme tutor will give you a list of the rules before you start the programme. If you are excluded from the programme you could be sent back to court.
Attendance centre is for younger offenders and involves attendance at specialist centre at certain times. Although this is a requirement that can form part of the order it is not supervised by probation staff.

Drug rehabilitation can only be imposed on adults and after they have given their consent. If the court decides that you have a drug problem you can be sentenced to the Drug Rehabilitation Requirement. There are three levels, low medium and high intensity, and you will have been assessed beforehand to see what is the right treatment for you and you will begin this straight away. You may undergo treatment for up to three years (two years for a suspended sentence).  Drug treatment consists of:

  • Day care
  • Counselling
  • Substitute prescribing and detoxification
  • Residential rehabilitation

Your order will not consist of all of these four elements. It may consist of two or three depending upon your needs. You will attend appointments with both your treatment provider and your offender manager during the order and you will also be tested for drugs.

Mental health treatment can be included on  the recommendation of a registered medical practitioner, the Court can include a mental health requirement. The Court can only include such a requirement with your consent and will need to be satisfied that the treatment will be suitable for you. The treatment delivered is tailored to your individual needs and requirements..

Alcohol treatment will be imposed on you if the judge decides that you have a problem with alcohol abuse. You will receive counselling and other treatment for up to three years (2 years for suspended sentence order) to help you combat your problem. During this time you will attend at least 12 appointments with your treatment provider and your offender manager during your order. They will help you to withdraw from alcohol through counselling/motivational sessions and treatment. They will keep an eye on your progress and recommend further session if they think that you need them.

Residence is a requirement that you must live in a particular place for the duration of the requirement. It may be your own home, a relative’s home or a approved probation premises.

If you fail to comply with or to participate in any community sentence the probation service will refer you back to the courts for a revision of your sentence, and this will always result in a harsher outcome for you.

If you have been sentenced to a community service order the probation service will monitor your behaviour and actions and may ask you to become involved in groups and meetings to assist yourself and others. These are worthwhile activities and will foster a positive view of you by the service.

How Probation Works

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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