Youth rehabilitation order
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.
Practice guidance for youth offending teams
We have produced non-statutory practice guidance for YOTs on the YRO and other youth justice provisions of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008.
It outlines the YRO and other key youth justice related provisions of the Act to enable YOT practitioners and managers to understand these legislative changes and prepare for their implementation.
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 Misuse 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
For more information on the drug-related requirements of the YRO see:
frequently asked questions document produced by the YJB and National Treatment Agency. The following community sentences are replaced by the YRO:
- Action Plan Order
- Curfew Order
- Supervision Order
- Supervision Order and conditions
- Community Punishment Order
- Community Punishment and Rehabilitation Order
- Attendance Centre Order
- Drug Treatment and Testing Order
- Exclusion Order
- Community Rehabilitation Order
Community Rehabilitation Order and conditions
It is important to note, however, that the above sentences will 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 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.
In a YRO case a warning is required if the supervising officer finds there is a failure to comply without reasonable excuse. If following a further second warning, within the 12 month 'warned period,' there is then a third failure to comply without reasonable excuse, the officer must refer the case to court for breach proceedings, although YOTs will have additional discretion in exceptional circumstances following a third failure to comply. The officer also has the discretion to refer the case to court at an earlier warning stage.
When dealing with the breach of a YRO, the court has the following options:
- no action
- amend the YRO, but not with ISSP or Intensive Fostering unless that already applies
- revoke the YRO and re-sentence.
See a diagram that illustrates the change in sentencing structure.