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29 November 2023

A consultation paper on the revised Imposition of community and custodial sentences guideline.

The consultation closed on 21 February 2024.

What was this consultation about?

The Sentencing Council sought views on the revised Imposition of community and custodial sentences guideline in England and Wales.

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

The Imposition guideline is the main guideline for general principles around imposing community orders and custodial sentences, and in what circumstances a custodial sentence can be suspended, and deals with other sentencing considerations, such as the requesting of pre-sentence reports . The current guideline was published in 2017.

Who did we ask to respond?

We sought views from anyone who uses sentencing guidelines in their work or who has an interest in sentencing. We would sought views from individuals and organisations representing anyone who could be affected by the proposals, including:

  • victims and their families
  • defendants and their families
  • those under probation supervision or youth offending teams/supervision
  • those with protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

What did we want to know?

Through this consultation process, the Council sought views on a series of changes to the existing guideline that would provide the courts with, among other things:       

  • more guidance on the circumstances in which it may be necessary to request a pre-sentence report;
  • new sections on sentencing young adult offenders and female offenders; and
  • new information on evidence regarding the effectiveness of rehabilitation when compared with short custodial sentences, based on external research reviewed for the Council.

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