Statutory court sentences

Solihull Youth Justice Service (YJS) supervise young people who have been ordered by the court to serve sentences in the community or a secure estate.

We will supervise the court orders which can be sentenced by the court.

Statutory court sentences

The court has asked the Youth Justice Service (YJS) to write a Pre Sentence Report (PSR). This report is to give the Court more information about why you committed the offence and how the victim feels. It will also gives the court information about you and your lifestyle, thinking and behaviour.

The court will also set a date for you to return. On this day the YJS will give the PSR to the court who will then sentence you. Before you are sentenced you and your solicitor will be able to see the report and ask any questions of the YJS.

You will need to attend two or more appointments with the YJS to complete the PSR.

One of these appointments will be within 5 working days of you appearing in court, and you will be told when this appointment will be before you leave court. If this does not happen we will write to you.

The other appointment will be with your case manager who will see you at your home.

During these appointments you will be asked questions about the offence and all other aspects of your life (health, education, family, lifestyle, substance use and so on).

Your YJS Officer will need to get hold of accurate and up to date information in order to give the court a clear picture of you, your current lifestyle, thinking and behaviour. To do this they will contact:

  • your parent or carer
  • your education provider or employer
  • the victim
  • social care, if relevant
  • any other relevant agency

You may not agree with everything in the PSR and will have an opportunity to discuss this with your solicitor before court and they will tell the magistrates your views.

At the end of the PSR the YJS will recommend the sentence that they think the Court should give you. The Court may agree but they don’t have to. It is the Court that will decide the sentence you will get.

Frequently asked questions

What happens if I don’t attend any appointments for my PSR?

If you fail to attend your PSR appointments, when you return to court the YJS will tell the magistrates. They will not sentence you without a PSR. The magistrates may adjourn the case again for a PSR, or they have the power to remand you into custody so that a PSR can be completed.

What happens if you disagree with the sentence recommended by the YJS in the PSR?

If this happens you should tell your solicitor and give reasons. You will be expected to follow whatever sentence the magistrates give you.

Every conviction has a rehabilitation period.

During the rehabilitation period, your conviction is called ‘unspent’ and you always need to tell an employer about it when asked. When the period is over, your conviction is called ‘spent’ and you may not need to tell an employer about it anymore.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that once you’ve finished your time in prison or on probation, your offence is spent. This only happens when your rehabilitation period ends.

The rehabilitation period depends on the sentence not the nature of the crime nor whether it was suspended or not. You’ll have to disclose criminal convictions immediately after you’ve been found guilty. In most cases, your rehabilitation period begins when your sentence ends.

When a young person appears in court and pleads guilty to an offence the court will make a Referral Order unless they consider the offence serious enough for a custodial sentence.

A Referral Order will last for between 3 to 12 months. If the court considers your offence serious, they can sentence you to an Intensive Referral Order. This means that that you will have to attend 25 hours of YJS appointments each week for at least the first three months of your order.

An initial panel meeting will be held within 20 working days of your sentence to agree your Referral Order Contract. Your order starts on the day that this contract is agreed.

Before the panel meeting you will have to attend at least 2 appointments with us. You must attend these appointments.

If you do not attend you will be taken back to court in breach. The court will also order your parent(s) or carer to attend the panel meetings if you are under 17 years of age. At the panels questions will be asked about the offence and all different areas of your life (Such as health, education, family, lifestyle, substance use and so on).

Victim Contact

Before your initial panel meeting the YJS will also contact the victim. This is so that their feelings and views can also be taken into account at the initial panel meeting.

The victim might be invited to attend the meeting. You will be told before the meeting if they will be there.

Panel Meeting

At the initial panel meeting there is:

  • 2 panel members (minimum) - The panel members  are volunteers from the community, the have had extensive training and are skilled in listening and engaging with young people
  • YJS Officer
  • you and your family (parent/carers)

The purpose of the initial panel meeting is for you to negotiate and agree a Referral Order contract

The contract will be made up of important areas of work and a range of activities which you need to complete during your Referral Order so as to reduce the risk of you reoffending.

These will be community based and supervised by the YJS. If you fail to agree or complete the Referral Order Contract you can be referred back to court in breach.

It is therefore very important that you agree a contract that you will complete. Your Referral Order starts from the date that you sign your contract.

After the initial panel meeting, you will have a progress panel meeting every 3 months and a final panel meeting at the end of your order. Between these panel meetings you will have regular appointments with a member of the YJS who will support you in completing your Referral Order Contract.

A Youth Rehabilitation order (YRO) is between 3 months and 3 years long. During the time that you are on a YRO you will be expected to attend regular appointments with the YJS. How often you have appointments differs from person to person and is dependant on how high the YJS assess your risk of re-offending.

When you are sentenced to a YRO the court will have listed the requirements that you are expected to complete during the length of the YRO.

The requirements are designed to help you in changing any aspects of your lifestyle, thinking or behaviour that increases the risk of you re-offending. The court decided which requirements to make part of your YRO having read the Pre Sentence Report (PSR).

The requirements that can be included on a YRO are.

Supervision Requirement

This means working with the YJS to look at a range of areas that increase the risk of you re-offending, these may include anger management, victim awareness, consequential thinking.

Activity requirement

This means completing a number of hours decided by the court doing a set activity. This is likely to include reparation.

Programmed requirement

This means completing a specific program on a set topic, for example anger management, consequential thinking, substance use etc.

Unpaid work requirement (only for 17 year olds)

This means completing a set number of hours with the Probation Service.

Curfew requirement

This can be for up to 16 hours per day and for up to 12 months. The requirement can be ‘doorstep’ which means the Police can attend your home any time during the curfew and you have to be seen by them.

It can also be electronically monitored which means having a tag around your ankle.

Attendance Centre Requirement

This means attending a named Attendance Centre on a Saturday and participating in their programs which may include healthy living, job hunting, thinking and behaviour.

Education requirement

The court can order that you attend a specific school until July of the year that you turn 16.

Mental Health Treatment Requirement

The court can order you to work with mental health services (CAMHS).

Residence requirement

This means living where the court tells you to. They may say that you have to live where social services tell you.

Drug treatment requirement

You have to engage with a drug treatment service.

Drug testing requirement

You are required to take regular drug tests by a drug service.

Prohibited Activity Requirement

The court can tell you not to do a certain thing, for example you may not be allowed to travel on public transport, or see certain people.

Exclusion requirement

This means that you are not allowed to go to a specified area, for example named parks or shopping centres.

Intensive supervision and surveillance requirement

This is a direct alternative to being sentenced to custody. It means having up to 25 hours per week at the YJS and having an electronically monitored curfew.

You can have as many requirements as the court wants and they can all last for different lengths of time, but all must have finished by the end of the YRO.

Frequently asked questions

What happens if I miss appointments? 

If you miss an appointment without an acceptable reason you will be sent a warning letter. If you receive one or more warning letters you may be returned to court in breach of your order.  The court can either extend your order by 6 months, or impose a fine. For repeat breaches the court may resentence to a Detention and Training Order (DTO).

Can the YRO be finished early? 

Yes - if you do well on your YRO the YJS can refer the order back to court and ask that it is revoked early on the grounds of good progress. This can be done any time after you are half way through the total length of your YRO.

Will I have to pay a fine or compensation as part of my YRO? 

You may be ordered by the court to pay a fine or compensation in addition to your YRO. The court will decide how much these will be, but will ask you or your parents about your income before they decide.

Can the requirements on the YRO be changed?

Yes - if your circumstances change the YJS or yourself can refer the order back to court and ask for the requirements to be changed.

A Detention Training Order (DTO) sentence is given either when the offence is considered so serious by the court that custody is the only option, or if you repeatedly breach a YRO.

They can be given for 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 or 24 months

A DTO means that you will go to youth detention accommodation (previously called secure units or youth offenders institution) for half of the length of the order, so if you get a 4 month DTO you will spend two months in Youth Detention Accommodation.

The Youth Justice Board decided which youth detention accommodation you will got to based on information we provide. They base their decision on:

  • how old you are
  • where you live
  • whether it’s your first time in custody
  • any health issues that you may have

It is important to be honest with the YJS so that you are placed in the most appropriate place. You will be taken to youth detention accommodation by secure transport. Your parents/carers cannot go with you but we will tell them what youth detention accommodation you are going to.

When you are in youth detention accommodation you will be expected to follow their rules. They will ensure that you have food, drink, clothes, somewhere to sleep, are safe and have any medical care that you might need. Your YJS case manager will visit you regularly whilst you are there and will make plans for when you are released.

When you are released you will be on a licence. This means that you:

  • will need to attend regular appointments at the YJS
  • may have an electronically monitored tag
  • may have to report regularly to a police station

If you do not comply with your licence conditions you will be returned to court in breach and may be sent back to youth detention accommodation or the courts might give you more supervision for up to 3 months, which will take affect immediately and will run alongside the DTO.

If you carry on breaching your DTO, the court can add another period of supervision, either detention or fine, until the order is complete.

Changes in legislation called the LASPO Act 2012 means that a young person entering a YDA between the ages of 12-17 

This means that while you are in the YDA you will be allocated a social worker who will visit you regularly by them as well as your YJS Officer. If you remain in the YDA for over 13 weeks, you will also receive support after you leave the YDA.

Frequently asked questions

Can the DTO be finished early?

No. A DTO cannot be revoked early for good progress but it may be revoked if you are being sentenced for a separate offence.

Will I have to pay a fine or compensation as part of my DTO?

The court might order you to pay costs and/or compensation in addition to your DTO. The court will decide how much the costs and/or compensation will be, but will ask you or your parents about your income before they decide.

Can I make phone calls and have my family and friends visit me?

This will depend which youth detention accommodation you are sent to. There will be an introductory process at the accommodation where you can ask any questions.

Section 90

Section 90 requires that young people from 10 to 17 years convicted of murder are tried and sentenced in the Crown Court. This is an indeterminate order which is roughly the same as a mandatory life sentence in the case of an adult.

The sentence has 2 parts:

  • The young person has to serve a minimum period of detention specified in the tariff, this is set by the court at the point of sentence. The court is required to have a ‘starting point’ of 12 years in determining the minimum term to be served in custody with any departure from that having to be justified by the court
  • Once the tariff has expired the young person will remain in custody until the parole board considers it safe to release them into the community under licence. The licence remains in force for life.

Section 91

Section 91 provides for long terms of detention for other ‘grave crimes’ up to the maximum available in the case of an adult.

In the case of a young person aged 10 to 17 the offences to which the provisions apply are:

  • An offence punishable in the case of an adult with imprisonment of 14 years or more (This includes rape, manslaughter, robbery, residential burglary, grievous bodily harm with intent (s18) handling stolen goods)
  • Indecent assault on a man or a woman (the maximum sentence for both these offences in an adult is ten years) including sexual assault, child sex offences, sexual activity with a family member

Additionally in the case of a young person aged 14 to 17 years the following offences would apply:

  • Death by dangerous driving (maximum penalty for this offence in the case of an adult is ten years), or
  • Causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs (maximum penalty for this offence in the case of an adult is ten years)

For 16 and 17 year olds certain firearms offences would also merit a section 91 sentence. The minimum penalty would be 3 years detention unless there are exceptional circumstances which justify an different sentence. The relevant offences are;

  • possessing or distributing prohibited weapons or ammunition
  • possessing or distributing a firearm disguised as another object

The courts may make a hospital order instead of a prison sentence if they decide you need medical treatment. This means the court will send you to hospital instead of prison. They may do this on conviction for any imprisonable offence except murder. It is only a decision for the court, acting on medical evidence.

You must have a mental illness that needs assessment or treatment in hospital in the interests of your own health or safety or to protect other people. There are certain offences you can go to prison for and the court must have convicted (found guilty) you of one of these.

The judge has the option of adding a section 41 restriction order, making the section a 37/41. The judge in a Crown Court can do this if they think you are a risk to the public.

The restriction order means that there are restrictions on you and your Responsible Clinician (RC). One restriction is that your RC needs to get permission from the Secretary of State for Justice before they can discharge you.

  • The Mental Health Act is the law which can be used to admit you to hospital for assessment and/or treatment for a mental illness.
  • to be detained or ‘sectioned’, you must have a mental disorder which needs assessment or treatment
  • the criminal courts can use section 37 if they think you should be in hospital instead of prison
  • it is a sentence and does not have a fixed end date
  • you can appeal to the courts if you do not agree with this sentence - as there are strict timescales if you want to do this, it is a good idea to get legal advice from a solicitor
  • you can also appeal to the hospital managers and the Mental Health Review Tribunal (MHRT)
  • the hospital can treat you without your permission
  • you can be discharged from this section by your RC (the person responsible for your care), the hospital managers or the tribunal
  • when you are discharged, you are entitled to free aftercare services under section 117 of the Mental Health Act, this can include things such as supported housing