Community Orders are an alternative to prison sentences or fines. They were introduced in April 2005, replacing all previous community sentences. A community order can have up to 12 components or requirements, which allow judges or magistrates to tailor-make a sentence for each offender, to maximise the public protection and rehabilitative effect of the sentence.
The requirements sentencers can choose from are:
Rehabilitation activity requirement (RAR)
On 1st February 2015, there was a change to the way Courts sentence people for Community Orders and Suspended Sentence Orders. The Court can now add a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement (RAR) to a Community Order or Suspended Sentence Order.
The Case Manager will work with the person to decide what needs to be done to stop their offending. They will help the person to get the right support to help with any problems they may have.
Unpaid work (Community Payback)
Unpaid work can be used as a creative resource for improving local environments, for building confidence in community sentences and as a pathway into work for the offenders. Across Staffordshire and the West Midlands, over 665,000 hours of Community Payback were completed last year by over 5,000 offenders.
Offenders can be required to attend accredited programmes. These are courses which address behaviour such as violence, sex offending, drug or alcohol abuse, domestic violence or drink impaired driving. Course tutors will explore and challenge the thinking and attitudes behind the offences, as well as teaching offenders tactics to change their behaviour.
The offender is banned from entering a specified place or places for a period of up to two years. This could include exclusion from the area of a victim’s home or workplace or an exclusion from a particular area of town to prevent public order offences.
The offender must reside at a place specified, either an Approved Premises or private address.
The offender must agree to regular drug-testing and to attend an accredited programme. Requirement can last between six months and three years.
The offender must agree to regular alcohol-testing and to attend an accredited programme. Requirement can last between six months and three years.
A curfew requirement is supported by an electronic “tag”, worn on the offender’s leg. The tag is in contact with an electronic monitoring unit which is installed at the offender’s address. The offender must remain at a specified address between certain hours of the day or night. Orders last for a maximum of six months, with a curfew of at least two and up to twelve hours per day.
Prohibition from taking part in certain activities
The offender must refrain from participating in a particular activity or activities. This could include a ban on entering a particular public house or attending football matches.
Mental health treatment
The offender is required to submit to treatment by or under direction of a medical practitioner and/or chartered psychologist. Treatment may be as a resident patient or a care home or hospital. Combined with a Supervision requirement to support and reinforce rehabilitation.
The attendance centre requirement is specifically for offenders aged between 18 and 24 years, with a maximum of three hours per attendance and one attendance per day. This offers a structured opportunity for offenders to address their offending behaviour in a group environment while imposing a restriction on leisure time at the weekend.
Foreign travel prohibition
The court can prohibit the offender from travelling to named countries. It can prohibit foreign travel except to specified places, or prohibit foreign travel altogether. The prohibition can be on particular dates/days, or apply all the time. This requirement cannot last for longer than 12 months.