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Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act 2012

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act 2012 introduces a wide range of reforms to the Criminal Justice System. The main changes to the Act for young people entering the Criminal Justice System are as follows:

Pre Court Disposals: Under the LASPO Act you can no longer be given a:

  • Reprimand
  • Final Warning
  • Penalty Notice

They are being replaced with:

Community Resolution (CR):

This allows the Police to make decisions about how to deal with less serious crime and is aimed at first time offenders who are willing to make amends.

Youth Caution (Caution):

Police will inform the Staffordshire Youth Offending Service who will assess and decide on what support may need to be offered.

If a second Caution is given, the Staffordshier Youth Offending Service will offer a programme of support.

If you don’t cooperate with the support then this information will be given at any future Court appearance.

Youth Conditional Caution (YCC):

You can now be given a YCC and this could include making you pay a Fine, completing Unpaid work (up to 20hrs) within the community, repairing the damage caused, write a letter of explanation to the victim of the offence or complete an offending behaviour programme.

If the young person refuses to complete the conditions it could result in you going to Court.

Provisions for Remanding Young People into Custody:

Changes to the youth remand framework were made following public concern that 17 year olds were being remanded like adults and not on the same principles as children. Many 15-17 year olds whose alleged offences are not the most serious and whose behaviour does not pose a risk to the public were remanded securely.

The LASPO Act approach to youth remand believes that community-led supervision, support, education and training is a more effective way of supporting young people to comply with their bail conditions. In 2011, three-quarters of children remanded by the Magistrates’ Court and one-third by the Crown Court, were subsequently acquitted or given a community sentence. Children were remanded for a week or less on more than 1,100 occasions.  1 (Hansard HC, 6 September 2011, c387W.)

  • The new Act means that every child remanded into Youth Detention Accommodation (YDA) will now be treated as “looked after” by their designated local authority. This means they will be allocated a Social Worker who will assess their needs.

Community Sentences:

  • An increase to the maximum Curfew which can be attached to the Youth Order – from 12 to 16 hours per day for up to 12 months. For those aged 12 -18yrs old.
  • Reforming the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, to help ex-offenders reintegrate into society after their sentences. (Will be finalised in 2013).
  • “Threatening with Article with Blade or Point or Offensive Weapon in Public or on School Premises” The minimum sentence for 16 -17 year olds is 4 months in prison and 6 months if you are over 18.  The maximum sentence for a youth is 4 years in prison.

Breach of Court Orders:

  • Youth Rehabilitation Orders (YRO’s) can on one occasion be extended by up to 6 months to make sure all the elements are completed.
  • You could be fined up to £2500 (for 14-17 yr olds) and £250 (if under 14). If you fail to comply with a Court Order.

If you are released from prison and breach your license conditions you can now be given:

  • Further period of supervision. This can now happen even after your license has finished.
  • You can be sent back to Custody.
  • You could be given a Fine.

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