Post court advice

What happens if I’ve been in court?

Your first contact with the probation service will be before you are sentenced. Our colleagues in the National Probation Service produce impartial reports which are given to magistrates to help them decide if a community sentence is appropriate.

If you are sentenced to a community-based order you will be allocated your own probation officer or probation services officer. They will not only supervise you but support you so you are less likely to offend again.

What are the types of sentences?

A Community Order is made up of one or more “requirements” that the court has said you must complete. If you have been given a Community Order the court will tell you to complete one or more “requirements”.

A  Suspended Sentence Order is a prison sentence served in the community. It is made up of one or more requirements ordered by court and if you breach it you can automatically be sent to prison.

What does being on Licence mean?

The court sentenced you to a term of imprisonment for your offence. You have been released as you’ve completed the custodial element of your sentence; however this is only a part of your sentence which you will now continue in the community.

During this time you will be subject to a post custodial Licence or Post Sentence Supervision or a combination of both. This will be dependent on the length of sentence that you receive, which your responsible officer, a member of probation staff, will discuss with you in detail prior to and upon release.

Your officer will set Licence conditions which will be agreed by the prison governor before your release. You will be given a copy of this Licence which you must follow. Licence conditions will take into consideration your offence and aim to reduce or manage any risks you pose. Conditions may be restrictive and may include conditions to protect identified victims or manage other identified risks.

What will happen if I breach my Licence condition?

You could initially receive a formal or final warning or be returned to prison for a fixed term period or even for the rest of your Licence period.

What does it mean having Post Sentence Supervision?

This supervision period may contain less restrictive conditions than that of your Licence, but it will continue to aim to reduce any risks that you pose. Your officer will work with you during this period to help you address problematic areas of your life.

What will happen if I breach my Post Sentence Supervision conditions?

If you breach these conditions you could initially receive a warning or you could be returned to a Magistrates' Court and face further penalties. These include:

  • A fine
  • A Sentence Default Order – unpaid work or curfew
  • A recommendation to change your Post Sentence Supervision requirements
  • A committal to prison for 14 days, then returning to post sentence supervision.

You will have five working days to provide evidence for any missed appointments. If you are unable to provide this evidence, any warnings issued will remain in place and continued misses will lead to your time in the community being jeopardised.

What is acceptable evidence?

Acceptable evidence must be provided within five working days of missed appointments. That evidence may include medical appointment details or evidence of illness, letters from employers or letters from other agencies detailing appointments, for example Jobcentre Plus.