An outline of the Community Service Order


Once known as a Community Service Order introduced by the Criminal Justice Act 1972, a community penalty order [ 1 ] is now regulated by thePowers of Criminal Courts Actof 2000.

The purposes of a community penalty order is entirely to reform the wrongdoer whilst he/she remains in the community, let an chance to reflect on the condemnable act for which s/he has been sentenced, the order is a method of rehabilitation forestalling the wrongdoer from falling into a life of condemnable activity and is besides reparative to the public ( peculiarly the victim ) . [ 2 ]

The order, defined by s.163 of thePCC ( 2000 )requires the convicted wrongdoer to pass clip on unpaid work for the benefit of the community for a period between 40 to 240 hours. The wrongdoer is supervised whilst project this work by a member of the young person piquing squad, a societal worker, or a member of the probation service.

As outlined in s46 of thePCC ( S ) Act ( 2000) , the minimal age for a immature wrongdoer to be sentenced to a community penalty order is 16. It is an alternate to a tutelary sentence for the juvenile who holding committed the offense, and found guilty of it, would otherwise be sent to a immature offender’s establishment. For those under the age of 18, the Youth Justice Board would be responsible for turn uping unafraid adjustment for the committed juvenile. The other standards for this sentence is that the tribunal is satisfied by pre-sentence studies of the offender’s ability and suitableness to transport out this signifier of penalty and besides – there is someplace suited and a type of unpaid work available for the penalty to be carried out. [ 3 ]

The Youth Justice Board was created by the Government in the commissariats set out in the Crime and Disorder Act of 1998. With no specific organic structure responsible in covering with juvenile offense, the Government set out to make a Youth Justice Board responsible for both the operation and the proviso of young person justness services. [ 4 ]

The Board’s primary purpose as set out in s.37 ( 1 ) of the CDA was to “..prevent piquing by kids and immature persons…” [ 5 ]

When condemning a immature wrongdoer, consideration of the immature person’s public assistance needs ( as outlined ins44 of the Children and Young Person’s Act 1933) will be paramount but other considerations such as protecting the populace from farther injury, reforming the wrongdoer from perpetrating farther Acts of the Apostless of offense and leting the populace ( including the victim ) to hold assurance in the condemnable justness system will besides be taken into history. [ 6 ]

The young person tribunal will non urge a community penalty order unless it can be certain that this is the right way for the immature wrongdoer to reintegrate himself into the

community and is convinced that a tutelary sentence would merely seek to destruct this reintegration. The tribunal must besides be certain that the immature wrongdoer will be able to transport out the penalty of unpaid work, for it is non an easy option as normally quoted by immature people and the public itself. Harmonizing toCavadino and Dignan in 1997, [ 7 ] community penalty orders were used as an assistance to cut downing the prison population, and as discussed subsequently, the really range of community penalty has been reflected as being “insufficiently punitive” . [ 8 ]

However, one time the tribunals have sentenced the immature individual to a community penalty order, it is so up to the bureaus responsible for the supervising of the immature wrongdoer to be careful in guaranting that no struggles of timing are made in regard of the person’s spiritual beliefs or any work/schooling agenda. [ 9 ]

A convicted adolescent may good see his sentence in this regard as being of comparative easiness to him, sing heavy demands of unpaid “work” will non interfere with his “hectic” schedule” . Indeed,Davies et Alin their 1996 text onCondemnable Justiceillustrated the contempt some magistrates demonstrated on the really “punishment” they had passed sentence on. [ 10 ]

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“…It’s non structured plenty… they come and go as they please…”

“They tend to lose credibleness when we have breach hearings…you hear how the decision maker has bent over backwards in accepting alibis ( in non finishing the work allocated to them ) …”

This position counters the really purpose of community penalty orders, in that they are supposed to hold a “just deserts” ticket attached to them when they are handed down, or to simplify, are meant to penalize the wrongdoer for his condemnable activity.

However a immature wrongdoer is to be punished for his condemnable behavior, the primary purpose of the bureaus involved has ever been the public assistance of that really single, on history of his “child” position. Society and the tribunals in modern times have recognised that the influences and actions a kid participates in earlier maturity will normally affect upon him through grownup life, which is why the young person tribunals have to be careful in how they dispense justness upon a convicted immature wrongdoer in relation to a community service sentence.

It is the demand of the Youth Justice Board and the associated Young Offender’s Teams to forestall Acts of the Apostless of offense before a kid is immersed so profoundly in condemnable activity or an offense committed is so serious that it is merely a affair of clip before a young person tribunal hearing is inevitable. Prosecution is viewed as a “last resort” go forthing many victims in desperation as the young person continues to pique depending on his attitude to the “softly, softly” method.

This rehabilitative attack has frequently been seen as handling wrongdoers with “kid gloves” or excusing the anti-social behavior of immature wrongdoers. Indeed, there are many stairss to meet before a juvenile may happen himself in forepart of a young person tribunal, including programmes such as mentoring, a parenting order where the offender’s parents attend categories on how to better their disciplinary accomplishments and activities for immature people ( which have frequently been reported in the media as honoring bad behavior with free excursions and vacations ) .

Harmonizing to the young person justness board [ 11 ] , these preventive activities are to re-educate the immature wrongdoer, to re-engage adolescents in their local community in respects to instruction, employment or preparation and to promote them in developing their ain function as an person with understanding to their actions and behavior. It is recognised in a study conducted by MORI [ 12 ] that immature wrongdoers, who are low winners academically or have been sidelined from the compulsory instruction system, are the group most at hazard in their likeliness to perpetrate offense. When carry oning their study, MORI discovered that equal force per unit area and committing offense because it was “fun” or because they were “bored” were among the greatest grounds why the wrongdoer decided in their actions to illicit condemnable activity. [ 13 ]

So what are the options available if the preventive actions should neglect, and the wrongdoer before a young person tribunal is deemed unsuitable for a community penalty order?

Near in scope to a penalty order is community rehabilitation and penalty orders whereby the wrongdoer is required to set about the followers:

  1. to be of good behavior and take an hardworking life…
  2. to inform the supervisor of alterations in reference, or employment ; and
  3. to follow with the supervisor’s orders for visits and in describing to the officer when required.

The above as outlined inEmmins on Condemnable Procedure[ 14 ] , are standard demands of the wrongdoer, and are available for a period between six months to three old ages. It must be noted that these orders are merely for “mature” adolescents over the age of 16 old ages, where it is hoped they “appreciate” the chance being given them as a opportunity of rehabilitation from a life of offense ( with the possibility of a tutelary sentence ) . In all kernel though, this order is to be seen as a hindrance with a agency of protecting the populace from farther injury by the convicted young person.

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Other community based penalties are available for the court’s consideration, depending on the offender’s suitableness, and age, though they are non dependent on the component of unpaid work for the continuance of the sentence. We will see each of the following in bend.

A curfew order is a demand for the wrongdoer to stay in a specified topographic point for a figure of hours as agreed by the tribunal. Normally in the signifier of an “electronic tag” to guarantee the wrongdoer complies, this order is regulated by the PCC ( S ) Act 2000, s.37 and is available in young person tribunals. It is frequently viewed as a limitation of autonomy, modulating motions of the wrongdoer, though this type of penalty is non entirely used for an offense which is usually punishable by imprisonment. The curfew order has a maximal continuance of six months, and is extendible for a monitoring period of between two to twelve hours daily ( half this if the wrongdoer is aged under 16 ) . Theoretically, harmonizing toRockin hiscondemningtext, this could add up to a punishment sum of 2,184 hours, 9.1 times the length of a community penalty order. [ 15 ]

Chiefly used in young person tribunals, attending Centre orders has attracted small contention since their inclusion as a community based penalty, originally under the Criminal Justice Act, 1991. [ 16 ] It is non extensively used, as it has a limited age scope, and small is required of the offender apart from go toing a Centre during his/her free leisure clip, presumptively to forestall them from being “bored” and being pushed into farther Acts of the Apostless of condemnable activity by their ain mentality or peer force per unit area. The order can be made for a period from twelve up to a upper limit of 36 hours for a young person between the ages of 16-20 old ages.

Supervision orders introduced by the Children and Young Persons Act, 1969 is a flexible method of “punishment” and has a wider range for refering to the complex demands of immature wrongdoers.Rock[ 17 ] argues that it is an appropriate sentence when the person on the having terminal has complex demands and requires in-depth appraisal. This may be more utile when there are “reasons” behind the condemnable act, and the person has behavioral jobs that is non merely limited to being capable to act upon by their equals, or because they were “inactive and bored” . However, the negative facet to this sentence is that an person can non be changed “overnight” when the supervising order is for a limited period of continuance. Besides, several bureau enterprises, such as societal workers, constabularies and probation officers need to join forces with each other to guarantee the purposes of the order are being met. With stretched resources ; this is less likely to go on.

Under s69 ( 3 ) of the PCC ( S ) A 2000, a sentence can be passed in the signifier of an Action Plan, if the tribunal is satisfied that this would be the appropriate agencies to rehabilitate and forestall the committee of farther condemnable Acts of the Apostless by him/her. This is merely available to wrongdoers under the age of 18, and can non be used in concurrence with any other community based sentence. Available for a limited period up to three months, the juvenile attends meetings twice a hebdomad under theNational Standards for Youth Justiceguidelines. Under s 69 ( 1 ) ( B ) of the 2000 Act, the wrongdoer is placed under the supervising of an appropriate officer, and must follow with that officer’s petitions in order for the program to be implemented to a successful decision. The action program order has an component non attached to any other community based orders in that the wrongdoer must follow with the court’s/officer’s demands that he/she remain off from a named country and agreements for his/her instruction must besides be satisfied, presumptively that the wrongdoer maintains a good attending record and behaves consequently to that consequence. Besides the tribunal has an option to repair a reappraisal hearing to look into on the advancement of the juvenile concerned. This shows that the tribunals may non ever be convinced of the action plan’s aims if its functionaries require reassurance that the program has rehabilitated the wrongdoer. [ 18 ]

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Fines are a agencies of pecuniary penalty to remind the wrongdoer that he has done incorrect (R V Olliver, 1989) [ 19 ] , though the negative facet of this is that mulcts normally have to be “chased up” through the tribunal bailiffs if they are non paid, and if the wrongdoer is under 18, so the responsibility falls to the parent to pay, where in world this is penalizing the “innocent” party who is non in the dock for the offense in the first topographic point.

With this broad assortment of penalties available to the young person tribunals, their influence is likely to be affected by the pre-sentence study that is compulsory under the CJA 1991.Easton and Piperin their text,Sentencing and Punishmentdiscovered that much depends on the construction and quality of the study being made to the presiding justice. Indeed, their position is that 40 % of studies in high-custody countries were hapless or unsatisfactory. So, what does this mean for the immature wrongdoer who is in the dock of a young person tribunal, found guilty of a offense and about to be sentenced? The MORI study shows that in the recent twelvemonth of 2004, a high figure of immature people committed another offense after being caught by the constabulary for their old offense. [ 20 ] When questioned by MORI what their attitude were to perpetrating offense, 40 % of those who took portion in the study stated their primary concern was their parent’s reaction, closely followed by the “fear” of being arrested. [ 21 ]

With community penalties frequently being viewed as “soft” and something to tout about between their friends as if it is a badge of regard that they have “earned” , or that they “got off lightly” , there is a existent danger that alternatively of being seen as a 2nd opportunity to turn their lives unit of ammunition, the community sentences carry small weight in the condemnable justness system for juvenile wrongdoers.Easton and Piper[ 22 ] point out that in the hereafter, the Action Plan order will seek to embrace all the perplexing array of community penalties, will run for a period of 1-12 months with several intercessions from a “menu” which will include the options of mentoring, mulcts and reparation. [ 23 ]

The manner frontward, harmonizing to the Home Office is the concentration on supervising orders, with the added combination of a reparation order as laid down in theCrime and Disorder Act, 1998. Implementing this in 2001, the Youth Justice Board developed an Intense Supervision and Surveillance Programme ( ISSP ) , using electronic agencies and human resources to cover with any non-compliance issues. The consequence of the order is to achieve some signifier of educational accomplishments and for the wrongdoer to derive an apprehension and compunction for his actions. [ 24 ]

Easton and Piper illustrate the dangers of increasing restrictive governments on immature wrongdoers where dependability is on the resources to implement these programmes. Without the resources, the decrease of juvenile offense remains to be seen. Not merely that, but without a structured life and a deficiency of self-denial due to parental irresponsibleness, [ 25 ] juvenile offense may go on to be a common happening in today’s society.



Cavadino P and Dignan J, 1997,The Penal System: An Introduction, 2neodymiumedn. London: Sage

Davies, Croall and Tyrer, 1998,Condemnable Justice, 2neodymiumedn, Pearson Ed: Essex

Easton, S and Piper, C, 2005,Sentencing and Punishment, Oxford: OUP

Hale et Al, 2005,Criminology, Oxford: OUP

Padfield, N, 2000,Text and Materials on the Criminal Justice Process, 2neodymiumedn, London: Butterworths

Sprack, J, 2002,Emmins on Condemnable Procedure, 9Thursdayedn, Oxford: OUP

Rock, N, 2001,A comrade usher to condemning, GB: Shaw and Sons

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