The court has a number of options for dealing with a young person’s case:
This may be imposed where punishment is considered inappropriate. The offender is found guilty but no further action is considered necessary.
The young person may be discharged, on the condition that they stay out of trouble for a set period of time between 6 months and 2 years. If another offence is committed during this time, the court can look at the old offence as well as the new one.
This involves paying a sum of money to the courts. There are limits on the amount a young person can be fined according to their age.
This is when the magistrate imposes a sentence, but defers it for up to 6 months. If the young person stays out of trouble or makes some effort to repair any damage to the victim, the magistrate may reconsider the case in a positive light.
Attendance Centre Orders
This order requires the young person to attend at a designated attendance centre (Youth Justice Agency Community Services centre) for a set number of hours. The hours of attendance can be from 12 to 24. They will normally be completed over a number of weeks, through planned sessions of between 1 and 2 hours at a time, and will not interfere with school or work. There will be a mixture of individual work, family work, group work and activities which will:
- address issues relating to the offence;
- heighten awareness of the impact of the offence on the victim;
- look at ways to prevent offending; and
- make constructive use of time.
Community Responsibility Orders
This is a court order which requires a young person to attend a Community Services centre for a period of 20-40 hours. The hours of attendance will be completed over a number of months through planned sessions of between 2 and 4 hours at a time – these sessions will not interfere with school or work. Each session will be used to help the young person:
- understand their responsibility to the local community;
- understand the impact of the offence on themselves and others;
- understand the reasons for their involvement in the offence;
- look at ways to prevent re-offending;
- look at other areas of need which will improve the situation;
- where appropriate, undertake practical activities to make amends.
A reparation order is a court order which requires the young person who committed the offence to complete an agreed activity carried out to the benefit of the victim, or the community at large, for up to a period of 24 hours. The Youth Justice Agency has responsibility for overseeing the discharge of this order through its Community Services centres.
Youth Conference Order
The aim is that most young offenders are referrred to a conference, although they cannot be referred without their agreement. In exceptional cases, referral is not an option. The Court retains discretion on these matters, but must explain their decisions in open court.
If the court order arising from a youth conference is breached, the court may either deal with the breach or decide to re-sentence for the original offence.
Community Service Order
This order may be given to young people over 16 for an offence which is punishable by detention or imprisonment. This would mean undertaking unpaid work in the community for between 40 hours and 240 hours.
This order puts the offender under the supervision of a probation officer for a period of between 6 months and 3 years, during which time probation staff will assess and manage the risk in order to assist the offender to avoid re-offending. A probation order can be made in relation to anyone over the age of 10.
Juvenile Justice Centre Orders
This is an order which is normally for a period of 6 months but can be for up to 2 years. Half of the time is served in a Juvenile Justice Centre and with the remaining half served under supervision in the community.