Extended sentences

An extended sentence may given to an offender aged 18 or over when:

  • the offender is guilty of a specified violent or sexual offence;
  • the court assesses the offender as a significant risk to the public of committing further specified offences;
  • a sentence of imprisonment for life is not available or justified; and
  • the offender has a previous conviction for an offence listed in schedule 15B to the Criminal Justice Act 2003 or the current offence justifies an appropriate custodial term of at least four years.

These sentences were introduced to provide extra protection to the public in certain types of cases where the court has found that the offender is dangerous and an extended licence period is required to protect the public from risk of harm. The judge decides how long the offender should stay in prison and also fixes the extended licence period up to a maximum of eight years. The offender will either be entitled to automatic release at the two thirds point of the custodial sentence or be entitled to apply for parole at that point.

If parole is refused the offender will be released at the expiry of the prison term. Following release, the offender will be subject to the licence where he will remain under the supervision of the National Offender Management Service until the expiry of the extended period.

The combined total of the prison term and extension period cannot be more than the maximum sentence for the offence committed.

In 2015, a total of 668 offenders were given an extended sentence.

These statistics are taken from the Ministry of Justice’s criminal justice statistics publications.