Detention and training order

The National Standards for Youth Justice Services has guidelines for Detention and Training Orders from page 107. Also click to download the Detention and Training Order: Full Guidance (The Crime and Disorder Act) from the Home Office's website.

What is the DTO?

The DTO replaced the sentences of detention in a YOI for 15-17 year olds and the Secure Training Order for 12-14-year-olds. The DTO can be for a term of four, six, eight, ten, 12, 18 or 24 months, half of which is served in detention, the remainder in the community under the supervision of a probation officer, social worker or a member of a YOT. It is available for young offenders who have been convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment in the case of someone aged 21 or over. It is available for males and females.

Main features of the order

Provision for the early or late release of trainees, dependent on the length of sentence and progress against a tailored sentence plan.

Those sentenced to eight months or more, but less than 18 months can be released up to a month before or after the halfway point. Those serving sentences of 18 or 24 months can be released up to one or two months before or after the halfway point - see below for further information.

In the case of an early release, the power to release lies with the Secretary of State, in late release cases, the Secretary of State must make an application to the youth court for an increased period of detention.

It is envisaged that the offender will be granted early release as recognition of very good progress, measured against an agreed sentence plan.
Late release will occur when poor progress has been made by the offender to address their offending behaviour.

Where young people commit very serious offences or repeatedly offend, the DTO will help ensure that custodial penalties which can be served in facilities which provide a positive and constructive regime are available to the courts.

Early release

On 1 November 2007, Section 33 of the Offender Management Act 2007 came into force to provide greater flexibility in the arrangements for early release from the Detention and Training Order.

Previously, early release could only take place at fixed points - either one month before the halfway point of the order (in the case of trainees serving eight months or longer) or two months before the halfway point (in the case of some trainees serving 18 months or longer).

This inflexibility occasionally meant that a trainee whose early release had been approved had to be detained for longer than necessary because, for example, accommodation arrangements had fallen through at the last moment.

The new arrangments enable a trainee to be released at any time during the one or two-month period, rather than waiting until the end of the month, if there are exceptional circumstances which prevent them being released at the usual time.

Note that this change should not affect the normal arrangements for early release - trainees who qualify for early release should continue to be released at the one or two-month point, as appropriate.

For further information, please contact Simon Emerson at the Ministry of Justice on 0207 035 1323 or email him at

Additional licence conditions

If you are responsible for a child or young person serving a Detention and Training Order who is being released from a Secure Training Centre or Secure Children's Home and need to request additional conditions to be added to the Notice of Supervision (in addition to the standard, mandatory conditions), you must present the YJB with defensible evidence of proportionality and necessity.

To do this you must:

  • fill out the additional licence conditions form - Annex A 
  • if an additional requirement would be that a young person is placed on a post-custody Intensive Supervision and Surveillance (ISS) programme, please also complete Annex B 
  • send Annex A (and Annex B, if necessary) to the YJB Placement Service or the relevant secure establishment alongside the final review paperwork 
  • do this within the required timescales, as outlined in the National Standards. 
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