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14.9 Orders and Sentences

YOUTH JUSTICE STANDARDS

One month after conviction allocated worker should have completed an Asset, Court report, intervention plan and a home visit with the client.

All offender orders to be signed by the young person within a month of the start of the order.

Initial face to face contact should be a minimum of weekly for first three months then reduce to fortnightly and then monthly depending on a vulnerability assessment.

Case and intervention plan to be reviewed with supervision every three months.

If an appointment is missed by young person, contact will be made within 5 working days and recorded in the case notes.

Any breaches will be taken to court within one month.

Closure summary feedback to the judiciary along with a review Asset completed with the young person to be completed one month after final contact.

Young persons sentenced to custody will have a multi-agency meeting held and a welfare plan will be drawn up involving all relevant services within one month of sentencing. A discharge plan will be drawn up prior to release and voluntary support offered for three months after release.

If released on licence the young person must be seen within a day.

All contact with young person must be fully recorded along with all intervention plans on RIO in accordance with policy and guidelines.

RELATED GUIDANCE

Overview of Orders

Standards for Youth Justice Team


Contents

1. Sentencing Framework
2. Outline of Court Orders
  2.1 Custodial Orders
  2.2 Community Sentences
  2.3 Lower Level Orders
3. Expectations of the Allocated Worker
4. Enforcement


1. Sentencing Framework

1.1

The sentencing framework for children and young people is based largely on the principle of proportionality: the restriction of liberty involved in the penalty imposed should reflect the serious of the offence. Having established the appropriate sentencing band, the court determines which of the orders within that range are most suitable, taking into account:

  • Proportionality;
  • The young person’s circumstances;
  • The requirement to have regard to the welfare of the child;
  • The best response to prevent offending.
1.2

In determining the appropriate sentence, the court goes through a three stage process:

  • An initial assessment of the seriousness of the offending;
  • Consideration of any mitigating or aggravating factors associated with the offending itself – factors which make it more or less serious that other cases of its type;
  • Consideration of personal mitigation – the particular circumstances of the young person, unrelated to the offences before the court, which may make it appropriate to impose a more lenient sentence than the offending would otherwise warrant. In some cases, personal mitigation can lead to the imposition of a penalty below the sentencing bracket which the offending itself would generally merit. (It should be noted that a young person’s personal circumstances cannot increase the severity of sentence.)
1.3

As part of this process of determining seriousness, there are a number of factors which the court takes into account:

  • The young person’s culpability;
  • Any harm caused by the offence;
  • The stage and circumstances in which a guilty plea is entered. A timely plea will generally result in reduced sentence;
  • Where the offence was committed on bail, the court is required to consider that to be an aggravating feature;
  • Motivation on the grounds of discrimination because of racial, religious, sexual orientation or disability are treated as making the offence more serious;
  • Every previous conviction must also be treated as making the current offence more serious if it can reasonably be considered in that light, having regard to the nature of the previous offending and the time that has elapsed since the conviction.


2. Outline of Court Orders

2.1 Custodial Order

  2.1.1 Where the court considers that the custodial threshold is met, the Juvenile Court can impose a custodial order for a maximum period of up to six months.
  2.1.2 The Youth Justice Team is committed to supporting young people in their community wherever possible but acknowledge that there are some young people whose offending is so serious, persistent or represents such a risk to the public that it will result in them being placed in custody.
  2.1.3 Where young people are sentenced to custody, the Youth Justice Team will ensure that their needs are assessed and appropriate interventions identified to ensure that constructive work is undertaken within the Secure Care Home and that the return to the community is properly planned.
  2.1.4 The Youth Justice Team recognises that young people in custody are frequently at their most vulnerable. The team will provide high quality assessments and information to the Secure Care Home, within agreed timescales, to reduce the risk to the young person throughout his or her remand or sentence.
  2.1.5 The Youth Justice Team is committed to undertaking comprehensive assessments, based on Asset, of all young people deprived of their liberty to ensure high quality supervision planning that facilitates consistency of provision between custody and return to the community. The team will ensure that supervision planning for young people in custody is subject to regular review.

YOUTH JUSTICE STANDARD

Young persons sentenced to custody will have a multi-agency meeting held and a welfare plan will be drawn up involving all relevant services within one month of sentencing. A discharge plan will be drawn up prior to release and voluntary support offered for three months after release.


  2.1.6 The allocated worker will ensure ongoing support to the young person and his or her family throughout the period of custody and will visit on a minimum weekly basis. They will work to promote strong links between young people in custody and their family and other relevant agencies and support networks within the community to facilitate successful transition from custody to community and to assist with reintegration on release.
  2.1.7 The Youth Justice Team will wherever possible promote a restorative approach to working with young people in custody.

YOUTH JUSTICE STANDARD

If released on licence the young person must be seen within a day.


2.2 Community Sentences

  2.2.1 A range of orders are available within the community sentence bracket for children and young people. While most orders are available for the full age range of 10 -17 years, some are restricted to those aged 16 and 17 years.
  2.2.2

The Probation Order is the most widely used community sentence for young people. The purpose of supervision within these orders is to:

  • Reduce the likelihood of further offending;
  • Rehabilitate the young person;
  • Enable reparation to be made to the victim or wider community;
  • Provide effective and rigorous punishment.
  2.2.3

It places the young person under the supervision of the Youth Justice Team for a period of up to three years (there is no minimum period specified in the legislation). The allocated worker is required to ‘advise, assist and befriend’ the young person who in turn is required to keep in touch with the supervisor as directed. The court can, where the requisite criteria are met, attach a wide range of requirements to a Supervision Order, for example:

  • Residence at a specified address;
  • To participate in activities or attend appointments for up to 90 days at the direction of the allocated worker;
  • To make reparation for up to 180 days.
  2.2.4 Supervision Orders and Probation Orders can be terminated early by the court, on the application of the allocated worker, in the event of good progress being made. Youth Justice Team workers should consider seeking revocation of the order at the halfway stage if sufficient progress has been made.
  2.2.5 There are a range of orders available for young people aged 16 – 17 years which constitute ‘near adult’ disposals. They are generally subject to adult standards.
  2.2.6 A Community Service Order requires the young person to perform unpaid work for the benefit of the community for a specified number of hours, between 40 and 240, within a 12 month period. Community Service Orders are only available for young people aged 14 – 17 years.
  2.2.7

An Attendance Centre Order requires the young person to attend an attendance centre for a specified number of hours each week, usually on a Saturday. Centres are generally managed by the police. The order is intended to involve a loss of leisure time and involve the young person in activities that will develop social skills and enhance self-esteem. The default number of hours is 12, but the court can impose:

  • Up to up to 24 hours in the case of a young person under 16 years of age, or up 36 hours in the case of a 16 – 17 year old, if it considers it appropriate to do so;
  • A shorter order where the child is below 14 years of age, if the court considers 12 hours to be excessive.

2.3 Lower Level Orders

  2.3.1

Where the court does not consider that the offending is so serious as to warrant custody or serious enough for a community sentence, it can impose a lower level order:

  • An Absolute Discharge places no obligation on the young person and involves no punishment. It is used relatively rarely, where the court considers that the young person cannot be considered morally culpable or the offence is very trivial;
  • A Conditional Discharge imposes no penalty on the young person unless he or she commits a further offence during the period of the order specified by the court. The order has a maximum duration of three years. In the event that the young person breaches the Conditional Discharge by committing a further offence, he or she will be re-sentenced for the original matter as well as the new offence;
  • A fine is a monetary penalty whose value must reflect the seriousness of the offence and take into account the financial circumstances of the young person. If the young person is less than 16 years of age, the parents/ carers will generally be ordered to pay, unless the court considers that would be unreasonable;
  • A Compensation Order is a monetary penalty designed to compensate victims for loss, damage or injury. As with fines, parents/ carers will generally be expected to pay compensation for a child less than 16 years of age;
  • A Reparation Order requires the young person to make reparation directly to the victim or, where that is not appropriate, indirectly to the community for up to 24 hours. The order is supervised by the Youth Justice Team and the work must be completed within three months.
  2.3.2 The court can defer sentence to a specified date, no more than six months from the current hearing, in order to have regard to the young person’s conduct after conviction or any change in circumstances. Where it does so, the court should make clear any expectations that it has in relation to the young person’s behaviour during the period of deferment.
  2.3.3 The court can also attach conditions to the deferment providing it considers it to be in the interests of justice to do so and the young person consents. The Youth Justice Team may be appointed by the court to supervise any conditions and monitor compliance.
  2.3.4 A deferred sentence is however generally regarded as an inappropriate measure for young people given targets for reducing delay. As a consequence, PSR authors should avoid proposing such an outcome other than in exceptional circumstances where there are clear reasons for doing so.


3. Expectations of the Allocated Worker

3.1

Within the Youth Justice Team only those designated as allocated workers will have supervisory responsibility for case management including:

  • Maintaining files;
  • Conducting assessments using core Asset;
  • Developing and implementing supervision planning;
  • Recording of interventions;
  • Appropriate enforcement of orders.

YOUTH JUSTICE STANDARD

All contact with young person must be fully recorded along with all intervention plans on RIO in accordance with policy and guidelines.


3.2 Where the court imposes an order on a young person that requires intervention by the Youth Justice Team, the court duty worker will interview him or her and his or her parents /carers at court. The young person should be asked to sign the agreement form appropriate to his or her order at court. The form should be placed on the young person’s file.
3.3 The Team Manager will allocate any new cases within one working day of the court hearing.

YOUTH JUSTICE STANDARD

One month after conviction allocated worker should have completed an Asset, Court report, intervention plan and a home visit with the client.


3.4 Initial contacts, the frequency of subsequent contact and enforcement procedures should be consistent within the agreed timeframes. There is discretion to depart from the agreed timeframes but this should only happen with line management authorisation, and the circumstances should be properly recorded and countersigned.

YOUTH JUSTICE STANDARD

Initial face to face contact should be a minimum of weekly for first three months then reduce to fortnightly and then monthly depending on a vulnerability assessment.


3.5 Where the young person lives with his or her parents / carers, they should be involved in the initial meeting. All contacts should be arranged at times that do not conflict with the young person’s education, training or employment, or religious observance.
3.6 Young people should be served with a copy of their order as soon as possible after the Youth Justice Team receives it from the court. The young person should be asked to sign to confirm that they have received a copy of the order, that it has been explained to them and that they understand the expectations. This ‘proof of service’ should be placed on the case file.

YOUTH JUSTICE STANDARD

All offender orders to be signed by the young person within a month of the start of the order.


3.7 Young people and their family should be involved in the assessment and supervision planning process, to encourage them to feel that the intervention is responsive to their views and meets their needs. They should be given copies of the supervision / intervention plan as soon as it is completed and asked to sign to confirm that they have received it and understand the contents.
3.8 Intervention plans must be formulated according to the Asset intervention plan documentation. The plan should specify up to five major targets for the first three months of the order. It should identify how each will be achieved and who is going to undertake what elements of work to achieve it. The young person will always be included as one of those who has responsibility for achieving aspects of the target. The plan may also identify future targets for change, to allow the potential to build on what is achieved during the three month period.
3.9

The plan should record:

  • The frequency of contact and details of next appointment;
  • Date when the plan will be reviewed at the end of the three month period;
  • The earliest possible end date of the order (taking into account the potential to revoke Supervision Orders and Probation Orders early for good progress – see Paragraph 2.2.4.
3.10 Intervention plans should be relevant to the needs identified in the Asset assessment. Any section of Asset yielding a score of 2 or more should be addressed in the planning. Plans should set clear targets that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time specific (SMART).
3.11 Where the Asset assessment indicates that the young person may constitute a risk of serious harm to others, or in relation to vulnerability, the allocated worker is expected to undertake the relevant further assessments, and to ensure that adequate arrangements are in place for the management or risk. All intervention plans should involve an element of restorative justice.
3.12 All forms of intervention should involve regular home visits and, where the young person lives with his or her parents / carers, the latter should be involved in the supervisory process.
3.13 Young people should be clear of the expectations of their order and of the consequences of non-compliance. They should be asked to sign the intervention plan to indicate that they have understood what is expected of them. Allocated workers are responsible for enforcing orders but the focus should be on encouraging and supporting compliance (See Section 4, Enforcement).
3.14 Orders that last for more than three months must be reviewed. The review process must involve the young person and, where appropriate, his or her parents. The young person should be encouraged to reflect on what has gone well and not so well over the past three months. He or she should be asked to consider the extent to which targets have been met, the reason for any successes and failures, and what obstacles have been encountered in working towards the targets. It is important to emphasise that the point of the exercise is not to attribute blame for failures but to identify what needs to be put in place in order to facilitate success. The revised intervention plan must be placed on the case file and a copy should be given to the young person. The core Asset profile must be updated as part of the review process.

YOUTH JUSTICE STANDARD

Case and intervention plan to be reviewed with supervision every three months.


3.15 Good progress should be rewarded and encouraged. Consideration should be given to seeking early revocation of Supervision Orders and Probation Orders as part of the review process, at the half way stage, where it in the interests of the young person to do so. See Paragraph 2.2.4.
3.16 At the end of an Order, the allocated worker must conduct a final review. See Review and Closure Procedure. The purpose of the final review is to provide an opportunity for the young person to reflect on what changes have been achieved during the course of the intervention. The young person should be encouraged to express what he or she perceives to have been the benefits of the intervention and to identify any outstanding problems or concerns. The final review must be placed on the case file and a copy given to the young person. The Asset core profile must be updated as part of the final review process.


4. Enforcement

4.1

The Youth Justice Team is committed to ensuring that all orders of the court are properly enforced in order to:

  • Enhance the confidence of the court and the public in youth justice services;
  • Ensure that young people with whom the team works take court orders seriously and understand the consequences of non-compliance.
4.2 The Youth Justice Team is therefore committed to a broad understanding of enforcement that prioritises encouraging compliance with community based disposals, and addresses and removes barriers to engagement, in order to reduce the necessity for breach action.
4.3

Enforcement, properly understood, is wider than breach action and can if effectively implemented have a number of benefits:

  • Maximising the opportunity for the young person to engage in effective supervision;
  • Underlining the importance of compliance with court orders (both to the individual young person and others for whom the Youth Justice Team has a statutory responsibility);
  • Ensuring that the young person is clear about what is expected of him or her and understand the consequences of non-compliance;
  • Demonstrating to the young person an appropriate level of concern about what happens to them and what they do;
  • Ensuring consistency of approach between staff within the Youth Justice Team and promoting a degree of equity for those under supervision;
  • Enhancing the credibility of community based disposals with the courts;
  • Assisting in the prevention of re-offending.
4.4

In determining whether a reason is acceptable or breach action should be stayed, the Youth Justice Team should have regard to a number of general principles:

  • The aim to prevent offending;
  • The requirement under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child that the welfare of the child should be a primary consideration;
  • The presumption of innocence;
  • The right to fair treatment and due process.
4.5 Enforcement begins at the point when the order is made. From the outset the young person and their parent/carer should be given clear information about the order; the purpose of the intervention; what will be expected of them; what support and assistance they can expect from Youth Justice staff and partner agencies; and the consequences of non-compliance or unacceptable behaviour.
4.6 Enforcement should be a consistent process so that young people are treated fairly and equally. All actions in relation to enforcement should be based on the principle of defensible decision making. All decisions and the reasons for them must be properly recorded.
4.7 The completion of the order agreement with the young person at court or at the first meeting following the making of the order is an essential part of the enforcement process. The court duty officer is expected to interview the young person at court, go through the order agreement and ensure that it is signed to confirm that its contents have been explained and understood. If for any reason this has not been done, the allocated worker should undertake this work at the first meeting within one working day of the court appearance. Even where the order agreement has been signed at court, the allocated worker should go over the contents again at the first meeting.
4.8 Wherever possible, explaining the order agreement should take place in the company of the young person’s parents / carers. Copies of the signed order agreement should be given to the young person, parent/ guardian and the original retained on the young person’s file.
4.9 Medical or dental appointments, illness, education or work commitments and genuine transport difficulties should normally be regarded as acceptable reasons for non-attendance, although if used as a regular excuse such reasons should be called into question. Other reasons offered should be considered on a case by case basis, according to the circumstances of the young person.  

YOUTH JUSTICE STANDARD

If an appointment is missed by young person, contact will be made within 5 working days and recorded in the case notes.


4.10 If breach action is initiated, the young person should be allowed to continue the order until the hearing in order to test his or her motivation to comply, unless there are good reasons for not doing so – for instance where continued attendance might be thought to compromise the safety of staff or other young people.

YOUTH JUSTICE STANDARD

Any breaches will be taken to court within one month.


4.11

The allocated worker should prepare a case summary – which will consist of the minimum necessary information to pursue the breach proceedings successfully. It should include:

  • The young person’s name, date of birth, address;
  • The date of sentence, the nature of the order, its duration and the requirements to which the young person is subject;
  • The requirements that the young person is alleged to have breached, the extent of the failure to comply, and the manner in which he or she is alleged to have breached them;
  • The response of the Youth Justice Team to failures to comply;
  • A summary of action taken to secure attendance at court.
4.12 If a young person has not paid an outstanding fine, support can be given if a warrant has been issued.

End