Custodial sentences are reserved for the most serious offences and are imposed when the offence committed is so serious that neither a fine alone nor a community sentence can be justified for the offence.
A custodial sentence may also be imposed where the court believes it is necessary to protect the public. The length of the sentence depends on the seriousness of the offence and the maximum penality for the crime allowed by law.
A suspended sentence order is a sentence of custody under 12 months, suspended for a period ranging from 6 months to 2 years. During this time, the court can set community requirements from the same options that are available for the community order.
The custodial sentence is suspended subject to the requirements being carried out under supervision and the number of removals requirements depends on the seriousness of the offence.
If offenders fail to comply with the community and home removal requirements, they will be breached, and returned to court. They will also be breached if they commit another offence during the supervision period.
Imprisonment and release on licence
All offenders sentenced to 12 months or more imprisonment are subject to licence conditions on release from prison. They are automatically released at the halfway point, and the licence period lasts for the second half of the sentence. Probation staff supervise licences and the work, which begins in prison to address offending behaviour, continues in the community.
Public protection sentences
There are two sentences available to the crown court for the most dangerous offenders where public protection issues are paramount. The criteria for these sentences are determined by the offence committed and the level of risk posed.
Imprisonment for public protection
The offender is sentenced to an indeterminate sentence. The judge will set a minimum term to be served, however the offender will only be released when the parole board is satisfied that they no longer present a serious risk to the public. This means that the offender can serve as many years in prison as is considered necessary.
Determinate sentence with extended licence period
The offender is sentenced to an appropriate term of imprisonment. Here the Judge will add an extended period of licence in the community once released into the removal company world.