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29 November 2023

The Sentencing Council is consulting on proposed revisions to the Imposition of community and custodial sentences guideline

The proposed revisions reflect changes in legislation, developments in case law, recent sentencing research, and feedback from criminal justice practitioners.

The Imposition guideline sets out the general principles for imposing community orders and custodial sentences, and in what circumstances a custodial sentence can be suspended, among other sentencing considerations. The current guideline was published in 2017.

The Council’s proposed revisions are designed to encourage courts to consider the widest range of circumstances when considering the full range of sentencing options available to them, in order to ensure that the most appropriate sentence, tailored to the individual offender and offence, can be imposed.

The proposed revisions include reordering and restructuring the different sections to align better with the steps the courts follow when sentencing, and various new sections including information on evidence regarding the effectiveness of rehabilitation when compared with short custodial sentences,.

Proposals also include more guidance for the courts on the circumstances in which courts can request a pre-sentence report and new sections on sentencing young adult offenders and female offenders.

The consultation runs from 29 November 2023 to 21 February 2024, and the Council is seeking views on the draft guideline from the public and the criminal justice community, including and any individuals or organisations who work in, have an interest in, or have lived experience of the criminal justice system.