New Licence Conditions for Offenders on Short Sentences

The consultation paper proposed a number of reforms to the existing legislation regarding the sentencing and release of offenders on 1st February 2015, including the introduction of supervision on release for offenders serving custodial sentences of less than 12 months. The Offender Rehabilitation Act makes a number of changes to the release arrangements; in particular the Act applies arrangements for release on licence to offenders serving fixed-term custodial sentences of more than 1 day but less than 12 months.

This means any offender sentenced to less than 12 months in custody will have to serve the remainder of their sentence on licence conditions once released from prison (prisoners serving such sentences are normally released at the halfway point of their sentence). For example, an offender sentenced to a custodial sentence of 6 months will be released at 3 months and spend 3 months on licence in the community.

The changes to the Act also created new supervision arrangements for offenders released from fixed-term custodial sentences of less than 2 years so that all offenders are supervised in the community for at least 12 months. When released from prison offenders will automatically be subject to a supervision requirement, which will enable offenders to receive vital support into housing, employment, training and substance abuse programs.  For example, offenders sentenced to 6 months will be released at 3 months, and spend 3 months on licence in the community and also be subject on release to 12 months supervision.

If an offender breaches any supervision requirements, the Act creates a new court process and sanctions for breach of supervision requirements for offenders serving fixed-term custodial sentences of less than 2 years. Subsection (1) of new section 256AC provides that where it appears to the court that an offender has failed to comply with a supervision requirement, the court may issue a summons for the offender to appear or a warrant for the offender’s arrest. Once it has been proved that the offender has breached any supervision requirement, the sentencing available to the Court is:-

  • Committal to prison for a period not exceeding 14 days.
  • A fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.
  • A “supervision default order” imposing either an unpaid work requirement or a curfew requirement.

If you have received such a summons for failing to comply with supervision requirements, please contact the office on 0116 255 4855 to discuss this with a member of the Crime Team who will be able to assist and arrange for a Solicitor to be present at Court.

If you have any other questions relating to licencing on release from custody please contact our Criminal Team.