What we do

What We Do

Our role within the wider criminal justice system is to manage and rehabilitate offenders. From working with courts to organising community work opportunities, we use a range of means to turn lives around. We also work with the courts, victims of crime and a range of partners to achieve our aim of protecting the public. In this section, you’ll discover how we work with each of these groups specifically to reduce reoffending.

For offenders

Public protection is paramount. Our work with offenders is first and foremost about ensuring communities are safe. By providing offenders with the means to rehabilitate, society is better protected against the effects of crime.

We manage offenders who pose a high risk of serious harm to the public. By tackling the causes of reoffending, we reduce the chance of an offender slipping back into the cycle of crime.

If the courts have awarded a particular sanction, it’s our job to make sure that it’s adhered to. Whether it’s a curfew or exclusion zone, a cognitive behaviour programme or drug and alcohol rehabilitation course – we make sure offenders stick to the terms of their sentences and give themselves the best hope of rehabilitation. And if needed, we also provide educational opportunities for offenders, and chances for them to engage with their local communities.

For victims

We have a responsibility to contact victims of serious sexual and violent offences, if the offender has received certain sentences or treatment under mental health legislation.

Like all offenders, those who have committed these sorts of crimes are subject to a licence period when released from custody. We work with victims to make sure licence terms take their needs into account – that might mean including a non-contact order or exclusion zone, for example.

Throughout the course of an offender’s licence period, the victim is welcome to raise concerns, have the implications of a licence period explained, and have information about an offender’s progress through the prison system shared with them. If any part of an offender’s sentence might have a serious effect on the safety of a victim, we let them know.

For prisons

We work with high-risk offenders during their sentence to prepare them for release. This means undertaking skilled work with prisoners to enable them to change and reduce the likelihood of reoffending or causing significant harm. Probation Officers will work alongside prison officers to resettle offenders.

Within prison establishments, we use our expertise in risk assessment and management and work with community teams towards reducing risk in the community upon release.

For courts

We provide courts with pre-sentence reports. Using our expertise, we advise them on any orders or terms that may help or hinder an offender’s rehabilitation. A pre-sentence report:

  • Analyses the offence, and the factors or motivations that led to that offence.
  • Considers an offender’s background information, including patterns of previous crime and their current circumstances.
  • Assesses the risk an offender may pose to the public and their risk of reoffending.
  • Provides the courts with sentencing options.

We speak with offenders, the police and other agencies that know the offender to compile these reports. And while we are able to deliver recommendations, the sentencing decision ultimately rests with the judge or magistrate involved.

For partners

Many offenders are ordered to carry out Community Payback and other interventions. If they fail to carry out this unpaid community work, it can result in being sent to prison. However, it’s an opportunity for offenders to learn new skills, contribute to their community, and build their self-esteem so it’s an essential part of rehabilitation for many offenders. We make this proposal when we believe partners in the community could provide useful opportunities for offenders.

You be the judge

This interactive exercise gives you the chance to sit in the judge’s chair and see how sentencing decisions are made. You can choose from four scenarios based on real-life cases. You’ll hear the facts, weigh up any mitigating and aggravating factors, and consider the circumstances and sentencing guidelines. Then, you’ll get to choose the sentence and compare your decision to what happened in real life.

Try it for yourself – you be the judge.

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