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How we manage offenders

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Community sentences

Judges and magistrates have a choice from 12 different requirements they can order an offender to complete as part of a community sentence.

Compulsory unpaid work:

This involves demanding and constructive activities, such as conservation work, cleaning up graffiti, or working with a charity. The local community also benefits in some way. An offender will have to do up to 300 hours of compulsory unpaid work


These are aimed at changing an offender’s behaviour. For example, an offender found guilty of domestic violence may be required to undertake a specific domestic violence programme


Participation in any specified activities

These activities may include improving basic skills (such as reading and writing) or making reparation to the people affected by the crime


Prohibition from certain activities:

An offender may be ordered not to do certain activities at specified times



An offender may be ordered to stay at a particular location for certain hours of the day. Curfews help to structure an offender’s life and break the cycle of offending.They will normally have to wear an electronic tag during their sentence



An offender may be prohibited from certain areas (for up to two years) and will normally have to wear an electronic tag during that time


Residence requirement:

An offender may be required to live in a specified place, such as an approved hostel or other residential accommodation

Mental health treatment:

After taking professional advice, the court may decide that the offender’s sentence should include mental health treatment. The offender must consent to this treatment


Drug rehabilitation:

If an offender commits crime as a result of a drug addiction, and if they consent to treatment, they may be required to go on a drug rehabilitation programme.The programmes last for between six months and three years, and may involve monthly reviews of an offender’s progress

Alcohol treatment:

This requirement is appropriate for offenders whose crime may be caused by alcohol abuse. An offender must agree to this treatment and it must last for at least six months



This requirement means that an offender’s rehabilitation is supervised by the Probation Service. This requirement may be used with other requirements, such as the participation in specified activities and programme requirements 


Attendance centre requirement:

Offenders under the age of 25 may be required to attend a particular centre at a specified time for between 12 and 36 hours, over the course of their sentence.