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If you are sentenced by a court to a Community Order or Suspended Sentence Order, you will be seen in court by an officer from the National Probation Service (NPS) who will explain the terms of your sentence and if you are to report to the NPS or South Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company (SYCRC.)

Do not leave court without contacting the Court Probation Officer.

The Court Probation Officer will tell you which probation office to report to and on what day to be signed up to your order.

You must keep this appointment or you risk being re-arrested and returned to court.


Your first appointment

At your first appointment you will meet your offender manager who will explain the details of your sentence and give you a list of appointments. The conditions of your supervision will be explained to you and you will sign up to the following conditions:

You must:

  • Keep all appointments on time
  • Follow the instructions you are given, including attending group programmes and keeping appointments with other agencies as required.
    • Tell us beforehand if you need to re-arrange an appointment, explain why and provide proof within 5 days.
    • If you miss an appointment, you must tell us why and provide proof within 5 days.
    • Co-operate with your supervisor in addressing your offending behaviour.


You must not:

  • Change your address without the prior consent of your offender manager
  • Come in for supervision under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs
  • Talk or act in any way that offends other people or is aggressive on SYCRC premises
  • Behave in a way which makes your supervisor think the public is at risk
  • Commit any further offences


If you miss an appointment or break the rules for a second time you will be taken back to court and could be sent to prison.


Community Payback

If you are sentenced to carry out Community Payback, you must wear suitable clothing.  South Yorkshire CRC will provide high-visibility jackets and any other specialist protective clothing you may need such as wellington boots or a hard hat.

You are expected to report to the Community Payback office yourself but we will provide transport to the work site if this is in a different location.


Custodial Sentences

The introduction of the Offender Rehabilitation Act (ORA) means that all offenders sentenced to a custodial (prison) sentence will receive a minimum of 12 months Supervision within the community by a Probation Officer following their release from prison. The length of your custodial sentence will determine how long you spend in prison and how long you are supervised in the Community. An example of a sentence can be seen below:

Offenders aged 21 years or over are sent to adult prisons, but custodial sentences for those aged 18 to 21 are served in a Young Offender Institution (YOI). Young offenders under 18 years old are sent to secure units or youth treatment centres.

When offenders aged over 18 are sentenced to custody, their case will be allocated to a probation officer who works in their home area. This officer is responsible for planning for their release, writing reports, visiting the prisoner and, where appropriate, keeping in contact with the prisoner's family and initiating contact with victims.


Release from Prison

Offenders released under the supervision of the probation services must report to a nominated officer on the day of their release. The officer will give them a set of appointments to keep and draw up a supervision plan to prevent re-offending and address any housing, employment or resettlement issues.

A licence may include conditions including:

  • Be well behaved, not commit offences
  • Keep in touch with supervisor
  • Receive visits from supervisor
  • Reside at approved address and seek permission to move
  • Undertake only approved work and seek permission to change jobs
  • Not to travel outside UK without permission


Additional conditions (only to be used when appropriate to manage the risk of serious harm the offender poses)

  • Contact requirement
  • Prohibited -  activity, residency and/or contact
  • Residency
  • Programme requirement
  • Curfew
  • Exclusion
  • Supervision
  • Non-association
  • Drug testing


Home Detention Curfews (HDC)

Popularly known as 'tagging', the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 extended existing schemes so that prisoners can apply for release under electronic surveillance. This is subject to satisfactory assessment of risk to the public. A monitoring device is fitted to the offender's ankle, linked to sensors at the offender's home address. During the day, the offender is free to leave the house, but they are subject to strict overnight curfews (usually between 7pm-7am).

Tags are fitted and monitored by private security companies under contract to the Home Office but offenders are also required to attend supervision appointments with their probation officer. HDCs are intended to allow offenders to attend work or training courses during their day, but prevent them from associating with former criminal accomplices at night.


Disclosing your conviction

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 outlaws discrimination against ex-offenders. It is intended to help people with few and/or minor convictions. People with many or serious convictions will probably not benefit from the Act because their rehabilitation period will usually be longer.

Certain criminal convictions are 'spent' (forgotten) after a rehabilitation period. This period varies according to the offence. For people aged 18 or over when convicted:

Most convictions become spent after five years

  • Prison sentences up to six months become spent after seven years
  • Prison sentences up to two and a half years become spent after ten years
  • Sentences over two and a half years are never spent.

You don't need to disclose spent convictions when applying for most jobs. Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 it's unlawful for an employer to discriminate on the grounds of a spent conviction.  However, some types of jobs are exempt from this Act - this means you have to disclose spent convictions as well as unspent ones. These jobs include:

  • working with children and vulnerable adults, such as elderly and disabled people
  • senior roles in banking and the financial services industry
  • certain posts connected to law enforcement, including the judiciary and the police
  • work involving national security
  • certain posts in the prison service
  • certain professions in areas such as health, pharmacy and the law
  • private security work.

For more information about disclosing your conviction to employers, please speak to your offender manager.


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