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Create a national community sentencing framework

Last updated: 12:33pm 15 December 2018

So we will create a national community sentencing framework that punishes offenders and focuses on the measures that have a better chance of turning people around and preventing crime, such as curfews and orders that tackle drug and alcohol abuse.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.45

Our verdict

Community sentencing occurs when a person is convicted of a crime but not sent to prison. Often the sentences (or Community Orders) involve unpaid work in the local community (Community Payback), but they can also involve programmes or treatment to help with problems that may have led to committing a crime.

Government research has found that:

“29% of offenders who start Community Orders self-report having mental health problems and of those who are formally assessed, 32% were identified as having a drug misuse need and 38% an alcohol misuse problem”

And yet:

“in 2017 only 5% of commenced requirements as part of a community order or suspended sentence order were Drug Rehabilitation Requirements (DRRs), 3% were Alcohol Treatment Requirements (ATRs) and less than 1% were Mental Health Treatment Requirements (MHTRs).”

This policy is a pledge to establish “a national community sentencing framework” which emphasises measures that are effective at preventing reoffending and reducing crime.

Since late 2017, the government has been trialling the Community Sentence Treatment Requirement Protocol, which diverts relevant offenders “towards treatment that aims to tackle the root cause of their criminality”. The trial has been running in five pilot areas – Birmingham, Plymouth, Sefton, Milton Keynes and Northampton.

The government has said that following assessment of the trial, “it is intended that the scheme will be rolled out more widely across England”.

Although the protocol does not constitute a “national community sentencing framework”, if it is extended nationally it would certainly be a significant step towards fulfilling this policy pledge. For now we’re marking this as ‘in progress’. To move it to ‘done’ we would expect to see the protocol extended nationwide as part of a comprehensive national framework. Follow this policy for updates.

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