The Youth Rehabilitation Order (YRO)
The Youth Rehabilitation Order (YRO) is a generic community sentence for young offenders and combines a number of sentences into one generic sentence. It is the standard community sentence used for the majority of children and young people who offend. It simplifies sentencing for young people, while improving the flexibility of interventions.
The YRO came into effect on 30 November 2009 as part of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008.
The YRO represents a more individualised risk and needs-based approach to community sentencing, enabling greater choice from a ‘menu’ of requirements.
The following community sentences were replaced by the YRO:
It is important to note, however, that the above sentences continue to exist for those that committed an offence before 30 November 2009. The YRO is only available for those that committed an offence on or after 30 November 2009.
The following requirements can be attached to a YRO:
- Activity Requirement
- Curfew Requirement
- Exclusion Requirement
- Local Authority Residence Requirement
- Education Requirement
- Mental Health Treatment Requirement
- Unpaid Work Requirement (16/17 years)
- Drug Testing Requirement
- Intoxicating Substance Treatment Requirement
- Supervision Requirement
- Electronic Monitoring Requirement
- Prohibited Activity Requirement
- Drug Treatment Requirement
- Residence Requirement
- Programme Requirement
- Attendance Centre Requirement
- Intensive Supervision and Surveillance (based on the current ISSP)
- Intensive Fostering
The YRO is a robust community sentence providing a ‘menu’ of interventions for tackling offending behaviour and the sentence can be used again on multiple occasions, minimising the use of custody. There are no restrictions on the number of times an offender can be sentenced to a YRO. Courts would be expected to use the YRO on multiple occasions, adapting the menu as appropriate to deal with the offending behaviour.
For the court to sentence a young person to a YRO, the court must consider the offence serious enough to warrant a YRO, and the restriction of liberty involved must be proportionate to seriousness of offence (ss 147-148 CJA Act 2003). The court will specify the date or dates by which particular requirements must be completed; the maximum period of a YRO is three years. If the young person is already subject to a YRO or reparation order, the court cannot sentence to a YRO, unless the existing orders have been revoked. The court will also have the power to order a sentence review in particular YRO cases.
The Act sets the threshold for a YRO with Intensive Supervision and Surveillance (ISS) or Intensive Fostering provisions that the offence/s must be imprisonable and so serious that if a YRO with ISS and or Intensive Fostering was not available then a sentence of custody would be appropriate; and in addition for under 15-year-olds the young person must be a persistent offender. A YRO with ISS or Intensive Fostering requirement must be for a minimum six months; the ISS requirement must be a minimum of 90 days and a maximum of 180 days.
Custody is an option for breach of a YRO only if the original offence is imprisonable or in the case of a non-imprisonable offence if, following ‘wilful and persistent’ non-compliance, a YRO with an ISS or Intensive Fostering provision is made and that further YRO is then also subject to non-compliance. The court, if passing a custodial sentence, must state that a YRO with an ISS or Intensive Fostering provision is not appropriate and the reasons why. This is in addition to meeting the existing criteria, i.e. the court forming the opinion that the offence/s is so serious that a community sentence cannot be justified.
All young people that plead guilty to a first offence in court must receive a Referral Order of between three and twelve months. The only exception to this is cases where they receive an absolute discharge or, (rarely) the offence is so serious that they are sent to custody.
Once a Referral Order has been made, the young person and their parents/carers attend a Youth Offender Panel, made up of a YOT worker and two volunteers from the local community. A contract will be agreed and signed, which can include programmes to address offending behaviour and doing some form of community work to repair the harm that was caused by their offence. The conviction is considered "spent" once the contract has been completed, and does not therefore give the young person a criminal record.
More information regarding Referral Orders and Youth Offender Panels can be found on the Home Office website.
Reparation Orders are designed to help young offenders understand the consequences of their offending and to take responsibility for their behaviour. They will be asked to complete a specific number of reparation hours within a specified period of time.
The order requires the young person to repair the harm caused by their offence, either directly to the victim, or indirectly by working for the good of the community. Examples of this might be helping with conservation work (such as Amberley Steam Museum), or removing graffiti in public areas.
Action Plan Order
An Action Plan Order is an intensive programme that lasts three months. A plan is drawn up with the young person so that the order is specifically tailored to their individual needs and any associated risks.
Attendance Centre Order
This order involves the young person going to an Attendance Centre for a specified number of hours. The maximum hours that can be ordered are 36. Attendance Centres usually involve discipline, physical training, social skills and some form of practical activity. The officer in charge of the Attendance Centre supervises the order.
A Supervision Order can last up to three years. A range of conditions can be attached to a Supervision Order depending on the severity of the offence. These can include participation in Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programme (ISSP), drug treatment, curfews, electronic tagging or residence requirements.
The young person has a plan drawn up for the period of the order with the aim of preventing and reducing the risk of re-offending. Attendance at regular supervision meetings with the YOT worker is compulsory throughout the order.
Community Rehabilitation Order
This order can only be made against young people aged 16 and 17. It is similar to a Supervision Order in content.
Community Punishment Order (Probation Order)
This order can only be made against young people aged 16 and 17. It requires the young person to complete unpaid community work for a period of between 40 and 240 hours. Examples of the type of work that may be involved include decorating, carpentry, conservation work and working with the elderly or vulnerable within the community. The Probation Service supervises this order.