A community sentence combines some form of punishment with activities carried out in the community. It could mean, for example, that an offender must:

  • carry out up to 300 hours of unpaid work, for example removing graffiti
  • have alcohol or drug treatment to help tackle the reasons why they have committed crimes in the first place
  • keep to a curfew – which aims to keep them out of trouble, or
  • live at a particular address or not travel abroad.

There are 13 possible requirements offenders might be expected to meet and offenders can be given only one or a combination.

The aim of the requirements is to punish offenders, change offenders’ behaviour so they don’t commit crime in the future, and make amends to the victim of the crime or the local community.

The 13 requirements:

  • Doing up to 300 hours of unpaid work
  • Undertaking a rehabilitation activity requirement
  • Taking part in a programme to help change offending behaviour
  • Being forbidden to take part in particular activities
  • Sticking to a curfew that means being in a particular place at certain times
  • Meeting an exclusion requirement, which means not being allowed to go to particular places
  • Being obliged to live at a particular address
  • Being prohibited from travelling overseas
  • With the offender’s consent, undergoing:
    • mental health treatment
    • drug rehabilitation
    • alcohol treatment
    • alcohol abstinence and monitoring requirement
  • Offenders under 25 may be required to go to a centre at specific times over the course of their sentence.

In 2022, around 69,000 offenders were sentenced to a community sentence, representing 7 per cent of offenders sentenced. (These statistics are taken from the Ministry of Justice’s Criminal justice system statistics quarterly publication.)