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Community Orders

Judges and Magistrates can give a Community Order with a range of twelve requirements. Depending on the seriousness of the offence, the potential for risk of harm and re-offending, offenders can be sentenced to any combination from the twelve.

The twelve requirements that are available under the Act are:

  • Community Payback - An Unpaid Work Requirement can be for between 40 and 300 hours and must be completed in 12 months. This involves demanding and constructive activities, such as cleaning up graffiti, making public areas safer or conservation work. The local community benefits from the work and residents are able to suggest projects for offenders to carry out.
  • Specified Activity - May include improving basic skills such as reading, writing and numeracy.
  • (Accredited) Programme - These are aimed at changing offenders' thinking and behaviour. For example, the Enhanced Thinking Skills Programme makes offenders realise the consequences of their actions and teaches them to make less impulsive decisions.
  • Prohibited Activity - Offenders may be ordered not to take part in certain activities at specified times, like attending football matches. If offenders do not comply with this requirement, they can be sent back to the courts for re-sentencing.
  • Curfew - An offender may be ordered to stay at a particular location for certain hours of the day or night. Curfews help to structure an offender's life and break the cycle of offending. Offenders will normally wear an electronic tag during this part of their sentence.
  • Exclusion - An offender may be prohibited from certain areas (for up to two years) and will may have to wear an electronic tag during that time.
  • Residence - An offender may be required to live in a specified place such as an approved probation hostel or other approved accommodation.
  • Mental health treatment - After taking professional advice, the court may decide that the offender's sentence should include mental health treatment.
  • Drug rehabilitation - If offenders commit crime linked to drug abuse, they may be required to go on a Drug Rehabilitation Programme. 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 is linked to alcohol abuse and treatment must last for at least six months.
  • Supervision - An offender may be required to attend appointments with an Offender Manager/Probation Officer for up to 36 months. The focus of the supervision and the frequency of contact will be specified in the sentence plan based on the particular issues the offender needs to work on. The length of a supervision requirement must be the overall period for which the Community Order is in force. The meetings must take place at least once a week at the start of the order. The frequency of contact during the order will depend on the level of risk posed by the offender.
  • Attendance Centre - For offenders under 25, the court can direct the offender to spend between 12 and 36 hours at an attendance centre over a set period of time. The offender will be required to be present for a maximum of 3 hours per attendance on each occasion. The attendance centre requirement offers a structured opportunity for offenders to address their offending behaviour in a group environment while imposing a restriction on their leisure time.
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