Children under the age of 18 years can be sentenced to a YRO at Court, which may last for up to 3 years. The YRO will contain one or more requirements, which will be decided by the Court following an assessment undertaken by the YJESS. The YJESS worker will coordinate the requirements of the YRO, helping the child to understand what they are required to do, undertaking interventions and support with the child, providing support for their parents and carers if required, and supporting them to complete their Order. The work will include helping the child to think about their behaviour and the harm their offending has caused to a victim. The YJESS worker will also help the child to better deal with difficulties in their lives, including support to access education, training or employment if required, which is identified as a very important factor which can help steer them away from offending behaviour.
Where a child is before a court charged with a criminal offence and pleads guilty, the Court can impose a Referral Order. The child is then required to attend a Referral Order panel with their parents/guardian. A minimum of two volunteers from the local community lead the Referral Order panel, with a member of the YJESS also in attendance. Under the Referral Order the child agrees a contract with the Panel, which includes a focus on building an understanding of the impact of the offence on the victim and wider community, and how to try to make up for this through reparation to the victim or the community or through supporting a restorative meeting between the child and victim if agreed. The contract will also include a programme of interventions and support to reduce the chances of committing further offences and to increase their positive development. Referral Orders may last up to 12 months. The conviction is ‘spent’ once the contract has been successfully completed.
This is included as a requirement to a YRO if the court decide that this is required as an alternative to a custodial sentence in order that they are able to be supported in the community with he more intensive support which may be assessed as required. Following assessment, the YJESS recommend to the court the level of support and what this support should involve, including an electronically monitored curfew for the first part of the YRO.
The YJEES has a duty to provide information, bail support and supervision packages for a child when asked by the Court. Whenever a court refuses bail to a child (aged 10-17), the court is required to remand the child to local authority accommodation unless certain conditions are met, in which case the court may instead remand the child to Youth Detention Accommodation. The YJESS supports children and families receiving any of these outcomes from court before sentence.
There are two types of custodial sentences: a Detention and Training Order (DTO), which can be from four months up to two years in length, or a Section 91/92 Order, which can be from years and more and only available when sentenced for a very serious offence at Crown Court. Children serve the first half of a DTO or Section 91/92 Order in a custodial setting for children, and the remaining months in the community “on licence” being supervised by the YJESS. The YJESS works closely with the Prison and Secure Estate to support the children who receive custodial sentences. The YJESS regularly visit the children and meet with secure estate staff, children and their families to plan programmes of work whilst they are in custody and to plan for the child’s release. It is important that all the good progress that is made whilst in custody is continued upon release, therefore we work with the children, their families and other agencies to get children back into education, training or employment, and support them to not committing further offences as part of resettlement plans.