The usage of community countenances has increased in the last 20 old ages in the UK. Explain why this addition has occurred. What have been the chief characteristics of tendencies in community sentencing over the past decennary?

“Community sentences do non work.” This was the headline rubric from journalist Blair Gibbs, composing for the Daily Telegraph in 2010 ; in which Gibbs goes on to do personal sentiments public, with the added support of national statistics and figures from the province. While he doesn’t include any beginnings to his information, his liability is dependent entirely on himself, and it must be said that he provides a valid point of position. His statement is widely expressive towards the bulk of wrongdoers today, and while his article is comparatively short in size, it packs a good clout. Further, Gibbs’ article allows the reader to derive a greater apprehension in what needs to be done in the Criminal Justice System in order for penalties such as community countenances worth the cost they have become.

Now there is no cosmopolitan term for a community countenance, single readings and articles do non hold the consecutivity amongst themselves to lodge to one signifier of definition, as there is no 1 that is most widely used. Therefore, beginnings and quotation marks in this text may supply fluctuations of such ; community sentences, countenances, orders and so on. However, the subject of this essay will supply easiness of understanding by restricting any farther information to the usage of ‘community sanctions’ as a whole, which will include all of the above fluctuations.

But what hasn’t been defined is what precisely they are. These things we call community countenances, what are they and how have they become so of import in the Criminal Justice System over the past 40 old ages? This essay aims to give a greater apprehension of what a community countenance is, giving a brief developmental history, and argue the positives and negatives of their usage. Further, the logical thinking for the increasing usage of community countenances will be explained, along with the chief tendencies in which community countenances have been used.

So what are they, what are these ever-famous community countenances? As earlier mentioned, there is no cosmopolitan term to specify a community countenance. Alternatively it may be viewed that the initial thought of utilizing the term ‘community’ would intend little more to the wrongdoer than non being in prison, where people portion certain attitudes and involvements in common, while ‘sanction’ would be a threatened punishment for disobeying the jurisprudence or a written regulation ( Oxford Dictionaries. N.D. ) . So a community countenance is a signifier of penalty, otherwise known as the imposition of a punishment as the consequence of wrong-doing. Ideally, a penalty is a manner of forestalling wrongdoers perpetrating farther offenses, utilizing the signifiers of justness by manner of requital, disincentive, incapacitation, rehabilitation, reparation and imprisonment. While imprisonment is a penalty, so the be-all and end-all of the UK’s Criminal Justice System, it does non come into drama within this essay ; therefore item will non be in mass when taken into consideration against this signifier of penalty.

Community countenances have legion purposes, all which are cosmopolitan to each penalty. Now the logical thinking behind any signifier of penalty is that the wrongdoer deserves it ; they are to be put into the Criminal Justice System and shown how to act, in a manner. First, warranting penalty has to be considered, it need to be understood why the penalty has been given and what the individual should make in order to pay back their offense to the community, therefore the term ‘community sanctions’ . The initial thought of a community countenance is to maintain the wrongdoers out of the chief facet of the Criminal Justice System ; more significantly, maintain them out of prison. What is the concluding for this? Basically, prisons are full ; worse than that, they are overcrowded ( or going really near to overcrowded ) . Last twelvemonth ( 2013 ) , the prison population stood at an overall 84,505 captives, with the functional operational capacity being 88,513 captives. Now this doesn’t seem so bad. However, this twelvemonth, the prison population has risen somewhat ( 1.15 % ) and presently stands at 85,469 captives, with a functional operational capacity of 85,910 captives. As it stands, today’s prisons stand at being 99.5 % full, this clearly doesn’t leave much room for any farther felons to be sentenced to imprisonment ( statistics taken from GOV.UK, updated 7/3/14 ) . Use of community countenances would significantly cut down the prison population, ease any force per unit areas of overcrowding and let the prison service to properly work with bad wrongdoers within their unit to rise public protection.

Community countenances are in topographic point to assist low-risk wrongdoers rehabilitate themselves efficaciously, instead than giving them an uneffective short-sentence of imprisonment. “The ‘short, crisp shock’ of public imaginativeness does non work” ( Howard League, n.d ) . Here, the statement appears to be against that of the populace, which argues that by seting an wrongdoer into a prison ( even for a short period of clip ) , they learn from their errors. Clearly, this doesn’t perform true ; the Howard League appear to knock this and set frontward community countenances as a more effectual manner of covering with an wrongdoer for a less serious offense. Community countenances are able to offer a more effectual punishment against piquing and affect the wrongdoer seting something back into the community ; in recent old ages, those carry throughing community countenances have shown lower rates of re-offending, in both volume and offense earnestness. Community countenances besides allow wrongdoers to set about unpaid work to set something back into the community they have basically damaged ; this is better than holding them sat around in a prison cell and allows for the development of regard against both the wrongdoer, and back to the community. Finally, renewing attacks are normally used when a community countenance is issued, leting for the wrongdoer and their victim to run into ; here the wrongdoer is forced to explicate their actions and apologise to the victim, which has been seen to be echt and show compunction over the past old ages ( Howard League, n.d ) .

Community countenances come in many different signifiers – from a simple fine/compensatory pay-out to the victim to supervising orders and unpaid work ; but all of them are a signifier of the wrongdoer paying back for how they have wronged the community. As prison is the ultimate countenance for an wrongdoer, it has become evident that by seting them behind bars, their lives can be significantly changed for the worst. For illustration, the wrongdoer may be put in prison for a simple petit larceny theft charge – this would ensue in them losing any occupation they had due to non go toing work, impacting household life as they are now an associated wrongdoer, and restricting any future life chances such as a publicity at work as they hold a condemnable record, which is unappealing to an employer. As a response to this, the Criminal Justice System brought into drama the thought of a less rough signifier of penalty.

“The Probation of First Offenders Act 1887 stated juveniles and those accused of less serious offenses could thereby avoid commitment for a first offense. Twenty old ages subsequently, the Probation of Offenders Act 1907 put the Probation Service on a statutory footing.” ( Kaye, 2010 ) .

While community countenances haven’t ever been entirely evident, mulcts and compensatory orders have been around for centuries, with the probation service being first brought in in the late nineteenth century ( Kaye, 2010 ) . The above quotation mark gives mention to Kaye’s work and allows a greater apprehension into when community countenances became more of a menace to wrongdoers, with new Torahs being passed and new Acts of the Apostless being put frontward to the Criminal Justice System.

Under the initial umbrella of the term ‘community sanction’ come many penalties, which can be split into three classs ; self-regulatory, fiscal and supervisory. The first term, self-regulatory, can be seen as a nominal or a warning punishment ; these incur no immediate countenance and frequently given in the signifier of a austere word of advice from a member of the jurisprudence ( normally from the constabulary force ) . It is herewith assumed that the really act of being detected, arrested and ( in some instances ) taken to tribunal will do sufficient shame to the wrongdoer to either deter or reform them without demand for farther punishment. This signifier of countenance is normally administered on the topographic point and can frequently be seen given to immature wrongdoers ; for an grownup, the wrongdoer is normally ‘put on trust’ with certain conditions to continue before discharge, after an visual aspect in tribunal for their offense. If an wrongdoer re-offends during the approaching discharge day of the month, they are apt to be resentenced for both the old offense, and the new 1. However, there has been a steady diminution in this signifier of penalty over the past decennary, there are now merely 5 % of known wrongdoers on this signifier of penalty ; this may be due to the low success rates. For illustration, the ill-famed Anti-Social Behaviour Order ( ASBO ) filled the air at one point in society, nevertheless, as more and more people were being issued these, they were seen as a ‘medal’ or kinds for immature wrongdoers, and they were making all they could to acquire one – cut downing the overall effectivity as it was seen as a challenge. Additionally, the ASBO was reasonably easy to obtain, even things such as a little neighbor retribution could potentially be a ground to be issued one after a dissension. Second, fiscal penalties ; these are issued as either a all right, or an order to pay a set sum of compensation to a victim. Fines have remained the most normally imposed sentence in England and Wales, and it is believed that the fiscal degree of the all right would impact the badness of the harm caused by an wrongdoer. Initially, mulcts held the demand that they should be paid in full, before the tribunal overruled this in 1914 and allowed them to be paid in episodes. The usage of a mulct has declined over the past century as the sentencing of paying compensation increased. Compensatory orders allow for the wrongdoer to pay back to the victim what harm they have wrongfully caused – these instances are given when there is an identifiable victim and where the offense involves personal hurt or belongings harm. Both the mulct and the compensation countenances hold elements of reforming an wrongdoer ; they allow for the contemplation of the earnestness of the offense, turn outing that offense decidedly does non pay ( after all, they have to pay back the harm they have caused ) and refunding back to the victim or society what they have done. However, those that do non stay by this signifier of countenance frequently acquire sent to prison for their deficiency of payment, this requires the province to hold to counterbalance for the wrongdoer for the short period of clip they are behind bars, bing the province more than the all right sees deserving.

Finally, supervisory punishments ; these are really widely used in today’s Criminal Justice System. They come in many different signifiers, each to reflect the badness of the offense that has occurred. The station 2003 CJA Generic Community Order was introduced by the Criminal Justice System in order to convey together all signifiers of supervisory countenances, this order can be given to grownups over the age of 18 and normally comes with a list of demands the wrongdoer must stay by in order to successfully finish their class of penalty. It has been recommended that out of the 14 possible countenances, the Home Office has requested the bench system to maintain all countenances to a upper limit of 3 punishments within the list, nevertheless, this varies and some wrongdoers may stop up with more than the recommended demands. This order holds three wide countries which function to include all community countenances ; supervising, unpaid work and electric monitoring. Supervision orders have antecedently been referred to as a probation order – the traditional intent of these was to rede, help and befriend an wrongdoer through guidance, intervention and constructive activities. These countenances are given to wrongdoers for a period of between 6 months and 3 old ages, with conditions ever being a possible add-on ( for illustration, frequent drug test/treatment programmes ) . As old ages have passed, supervising orders have now become more focused on curtailing an offender’s autonomy and protecting the populace, instead than reforming and rehabilitating the wrongdoer. Unpaid work is basically what it states ; a period of work carried out by the wrongdoer without wage and supervised by a probation officer. These orders can be tailored to the single wrongdoer, for illustration, to work around any other committednesss they may hold in order for them to retain a steady criterion of life. Finally, electric monitoring ; this is where the wrongdoer is fitted with a particular watchband or anklet which is connected electronically to a telephone line and monitored by professionals within the Criminal Justice System on a regular footing. It would be a good clip to advert that the usage of electronic tagging is administered through a private company, non through the probation service.

Other options for community countenances can include drug rehabilitation orders ; these are used along with supervising orders to represent a authorities response to the increasing figure of wrongdoers that commit offenses in order for them to fund their drug dependences – these can merely be administered to an wrongdoer if they are willing to collaborate with the ordinances of the countenance. Now if the authorities are serious about holding re-offending rates reduced, they need to set about intensive action in cut downing the Numberss of those that are traveling into detention ; peculiarly those of a lower-level menace to the populace as these can be dealt with utilizing a more elusive attack and decently managed in a community they can refund. Custodial sentences should hence be used as a last resort, and should be reserved for those who commit more serious offenses and/or continue to present a danger/threat to society.


Gibbs, B ( 25.11.2010 ) .Community sentences do non work as a penalty. [ Internet ] & A ; lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: // & A ; gt ; London. [ Accessed 04/03/2014 ] .

GOV.UK ( 7/3/14 ) .Prison population figures: 2014. [ Internet ] . & A ; lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: // & A ; gt ; London. [ Accessed 04/03/2014 ] .

Howard League for Penal Reform ( n.d ) .Community sentences cut offense – Factsheet.[ Internet ] . & A ; lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: // & A ; gt ; London. [ Accessed 04/03/2014 ] .

Kaye, R. ( 2010 )Suiting the Crime. Reforming community sentences: Repairing the weak nexus in the sentencing concatenation. [ Internet ] . & A ; lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: // % 20the % 20crime % 20- % 20nov % 2010.pdf & A ; gt ; London. [ Accessed 04/03/2014 ] .

Oxford Dictionaries ( n.d. )Community. [ Internet ] . & A ; lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: // q=community & A ; gt ; Oxford. [ Accessed 04/03/2014 ] .

Oxford Dictionaries ( n.d. )Sanction. [ Internet ] . & A ; lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: // & A ; gt ; Oxford. [ Accessed 04/03/2014 ] .