17.11.2020

The Sentencing Council publishes report on the assessment of the impact and implementation of the Children and Young People definitive guideline

The guideline came into force on 1 June 2017 and covers overarching principles for sentencing children and young people as well as offence specific guidelines for robbery and sexual offences.  It applies to those aged under 18 years only.

The report found the guideline has not changed average sentencing severity but indicated that for robbery offences the guideline may have led to a decrease in sentencing severity for the 15 – 17 year old age group. The resource assessment set out that the aim in developing these guidelines was not to change sentencing practice but anticipated that there might be a shift from custodial to community sentences for a small number of cases.

The report concludes that the guideline is fit for purpose and working as intended.

[Full report available here]

17.11.2020

The Sentencing Council publishes report on the assessment of the impact and implementation of the Reduction in Sentence for a Guilty Plea definitive guideline

This report assesses the impact of the revised guilty plea guideline, which came into force in June 2017. The aim of the guideline was to encourage those defendants who are going to plead guilty to do so as early in the court process as possible. However, this research indicated that the revised guideline did not seem to have any noticeable impact on the timings of defendants’ pleas.

Overall, the analysis found that there was no evidence that the guideline has led to an impact on the plea rates for adult offenders, the stage at which the guilty plea is entered in the Crown Court, or the average number of hearings required at both the magistrates’ courts and the Crown Court. Nor did the revised guideline appear to have an impact on sentence lengths for adult offenders.

The Sentencing Council has agreed to keep the guideline under review.

[Full report available here]

4.11.2020

Prisoners (Disclosure of Information About Victims) Act receives Royal Assent

Convicted murderers and paedophiles that do not disclose information on their victims could now spend more time in prison as Prisoners (Disclosure of Information About Victims) Act received Royal Assent 4 November 2020.

The Act places a legal duty on the Parole Board to consider the harm caused by murderers who refuse to disclose the location of a victim’s body when considering them for release. The Act will also apply to offenders that make indecent images of children but do not identify their victims.

[Full GOV.UK press release here]