Information about pre-sentence reports in youth offence cases.
What is a Pre-Sentence Report?
It is an impartial report requested by the court, which gives information about the young person and the offence(s) that they have committed. It is important to co-operate with the YOS worker in the preparation of this, so that the court is given a fair picture of all the circumstances.
Why does the court need a Report?
The court has to decide on the most appropriate sentence for the offence(s) that have been committed. This is based on:
- the seriousness of the offence
- the suitability of a particular sentence
Some community sentences cannot be given unless a Report has been prepared first.
Who writes the report?
A worker from the young person's local YOS will write the Report (regardless of which court has asked for the Report).
What meetings are needed?
The YOS worker will interview the young person and will need to ask relevant questions. This would normally also involve discussions with parents / carers. Interviews may need to take place more than once to get enough detail for the report.
Who else is contacted?
The YOS worker may also want to talk to other people that know the young person such as teachers, social workers, youth workers, health workers and any other professionals that may be able to provide specialist services to the young person.
What does the report include?
The report gives information about:
- the details and circumstances of the offence(s)
- the seriousness of the offence(s)
- an assessment of the consequences of the offence(s) including the impact it had on the victim
- an assessment of the young person's attitude to the offence(s) and the consequences
- personal circumstances which may be relevant to the offence(s)
- the suitability of a particular sentence.
Is the report confidential?
Personal information gained during the preparation of the report will be treated with the utmost care. However, the YOS cannot guarantee to keep all the information confidential. For example, if another offence was disclosed, or there was concern about the safety of other people the YOS worker may need to pass on the information. As far as possible, this action would be discussed with the young person first.
Who can see the report?
- the young person that the report is about, their parents / carers
- the young person's Solicitor
- the Judge or Magistrates
- the Court Legal Advisor
- the Crown Prosecution Service
- the YOT worker at Court
- the Prison or Secure Unit, if the sentence results in custody
- the young person's Social Worker if they have one
Who can comment on the report?
The report will be shown to the young person before their court appearance. If they feel it contains anything that is unfair or untrue, they should say so. These comments can then be made to the Court.
The report will not be read aloud in Court, although the Defence Solicitor may refer to the contents. The Court may also ask questions regarding the contents of the report, or make comments on it.