If you are sentenced by a court to a Community Order or
Suspended Sentence Order, you will be seen in court by one of our
Officers who will explain the terms of your sentence.
Do not leave court without contacting the Court
The Court Probation Officer will tell you which probation office
to report to and arrange your first appointment, either with your
offender manager or with the nearest Community Payback unit.
You must keep this appointment or you risk being
re-arrested and returned to court.
At your first appointment you will meet your Offender Manager
who will explain the details of your sentence and give you a list
- You must turn up for all appointments on time and not be under
the influence of drugs or alcohol
- You must tell your Offender Manager if you plan to change your
address or phone number
- If you miss an appointment or break the rules without good
reason your Offender Manager will give you a final warning.
If you miss an appointment or break the rules for a
second time you will be taken back to court and could be sent to
If you are sentenced to carry out Community Payback, you must
wear suitable clothing. South Yorkshire Probation Trust will
provide high-visibility jackets and any other specialist protective
clothing you may need such as wellington boots or a hard hat.
You are expected to report to the Community
Payback office yourself but we will provide transport to the
work site if this is in a different location.
If you are given a prison sentence of 12 months or more you may
be seen by a Probation Officer before you leave court however, when
in prison you will be contacted by probation staff based in the
prison who will work with prison staff to manage your sentence.
Offenders aged 21 or over are sent to adult prison, but
custodial sentences for those aged 18 to 21 are served in a Young
Offender Institution (YOI). Young offenders under 18 years old are
sent to secure units or youth treatment centres.
When offenders aged over 18 are sentenced to custody, their case
will be allocated to a probation officer who works in their home
area. This officer is responsible for planning for their release,
writing reports, visiting the prisoner and, where appropriate,
keeping in contact with the prisoner's family and initiating
contact with victims.
Release from Prison
Most prisoners serving 12 months or more do not serve the whole
of their sentence in custody. At a predetermined stage they are
released to serve the rest of their sentence in the community.
Offenders released under the supervision of the Probation
Service must report to a nominated officer on the day of their
release. The officer will give them a set of appointments to keep
and draw up a supervision plan to prevent re-offending and address
any housing, employment or resettlement issues.
A release licence may include conditions such as living at a
hostel, not committing further offences or staying away from the
area where the crime was committed. Any breach of the licence can
mean a return to prison to serve the remainder of the sentence in
Home Detention Curfews (HDC)
Popularly known as tagging, the Crime and
Disorder Act 1998 extended existing schemes so that prisoners
can, subject to satisfactory assessment of risk to the public,
apply for release under electronic surveillance. A monitoring
device is fitted to the offender's ankle, linked to sensors at the
offender's home address. During the day, the offender is free to
leave the house, but they are subject to strict overnight curfews
(usually between 7pm-7am).
Tags are fitted and monitored by private security companies
under contract to the Home Office, but offenders are also required
to attend supervision appointments with their probation officer.
HDCs are intended to allow offenders to attend work or training
courses during their day, but prevent them from associating with
former criminal accomplices at night.
Disclosing your conviction
The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 outlaws discrimination
against ex-offenders. It is intended to help people with few and/or
minor convictions. People with many or serious convictions will
probably not benefit from the Act because their rehabilitation
period will usually be longer.
Certain criminal convictions are 'spent' (forgotten) after a
rehabilitation period. This period varies according to the offence.
For people aged 18 or over when convicted:
Most convictions become spent after five years
- Prison sentences up to six months become spent after seven
- Prison sentences up to two and a half years become spent after
- Sentences over 2.5 years are never spent.
You don't need to disclose spent convictions when applying for
most jobs. Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 it's
unlawful for an employer to discriminate on the grounds of a spent
conviction. However, some types of jobs are exempt from this
Act - this means you have to disclose spent convictions as well as
unspent ones. These jobs include:
- working with children and vulnerable adults, such as elderly
and disabled people
- senior roles in banking and the financial services
- certain posts connected to law enforcement, including the
judiciary and the police
- work involving national security
- certain posts in the prison service
- certain professions in areas such as health, pharmacy and the
- private security work.
For more information about disclosing your conviction to
employers, please speak to your Offender Manager.