Magistrates and judges can order people to either a Community Order or Suspended Sentence Order.
There are 13 requirements which the court can make as part of the order:
- Rehabilitation Activity Requirement (a number of days worth of interventions aimed at rehabilitation)
- a requirement to complete programmes aimed at tackling offending behaviour
- Community Payback
- a victim awareness course
- drug and / or alcohol treatment
- mental health treatment
- residence requirement
- prohibited activity – for example being banned from places such as pubs or football grounds
- exclusion from a specific place
- a ban from travelling abroad
- a requirement to access support provided by partner agencies (such as housing, employment, training and education)
The Community Order sets the amount of time that the requirements must be completed in. So if an individual is sentenced to a six-month Community Order, their requirements must be finished within that period.
The Suspended Sentence Order carries the additional punitive measure that if the offender commits another crime, they are potentially jailed for the length of the suspended element in addition to whatever sentence their fresh crime carries.
If an offender breaks the terms of their sentence, they are either given an official warning or are sent back to court and re-sentenced for their crimes. That could result in either a tougher community sentence or prison.