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Young Adult Offenders

Offenders aged 17 to 20 years (16 to 20 years in Scotland) form a separate category fromjuvenile and adult offenders. In England and Wales the penalties for young adults are fines and compensation, attendance centre orders and probation orders; offenders may also be sentenced to up to 240 hours of community service. As in the case of juvenile offenders, a custodial sentence may be imposed only when no other measure would be appropriate. The custodial sentences for offenders of this age are the detention centre order (for young men sentenced to a term of four months or less) and the youth custody sentence (for both sexes). For the most serious offences young adults may be sentenced to custody for life.

Detention centres, which receive offenders directly from the courts, operate a consistent regime, which is geared to the short sentences involved. This inculcates a high standard of discipline and effort; in senior centres it includes a full working week; younger offenders receive at least 15 hours of education a week. Both junior and senior centres provide one hour of physical training each day. The youth custody centre regime is designed for offenders who are usually serving a minimum sentence of over four months and for those allocated from a local prison. The aim is to provide flexible but coherent programmes of activities which are as constructive as possible and can include an element of vocational training. Some young offenders sentenced to youth custody and held in local prisons and remand centres in special accommodation where as full a regime as possible provided. The Criminal Justice Act provides for a unified custodial sentence for young and young adult offenders under the age of 21 in England and Wales: the detention centre order and the youth custody sentence are being replaced by detention in a young offender institution. Young offenders are eligible for parole on the same terms as adults and all are supervised after release.

In Scotland young offenders aged under 21 sentenced to detention serve their sentences in a young offenders’ institution. Remission of part of the sentence for good conduct, release on parole, and supervision after release are available. In Northern Ireland offenders aged 17 and 21 who are sentenced to three years or less are sent to a young offenders’ centre.


Date: 2015-01-12; view: 806

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