About your sentence
Community sentences have been proven to be both punishing and effective in reducing crime and this makes them much more appropriate for some offences. For many offenders, Community Orders are tougher than a prison sentence because you will have to face up to the consequences of your actions in the community. They may also allow you to keep your job, retain family ties and your home - all crucial factors in preventing re-offending.
I’m being sentenced, what can I expect?
If you are sentenced by a court to a Community Order or a Suspended Sentence Order, you will usually be seen by probation staff working at the court, who will explain the terms of your sentence. They 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 returned to court
Your first appointment
At your first appointment you will meet your offender manager, who will explain the details of your sentence and give you a list of appointments.
The Community Compact is an agreement (or contract), between the Probation Trust, your offender manager and you. It sets out a series of mutual expectations and expected standards of behaviour, while you are subject to a Community Order, Suspended Sentence Order, or Llicence. The compact details your rights, and what you can expect from us during your supervisory period.
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 on a Community Order, without an acceptable reason, you will be taken back to court. The sentence you will receive for breaching your Order will be more onerous and you could be sent to prison.
If you have been sentenced to carry out Community Payback, you must wear suitable clothing. We will provide high-visibility jackets and any other specialist protective clothing you may need such as gloves 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.
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:
- some fines, discharges and some Community Orders become spent after five years
- prison sentences up to six months become spent after seven years
- prison sentences up to two and a half years become spent after ten years
- sentences over two and half 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 industry
- 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 law private security work.
For more information about disclosing your conviction to employers, please speak to your offender manager, or visit the DirectGov Careers Advice