Legislation Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 s 1
Who can get one? Under 18s
Maximum length 3 years (CJIA 2008 Sch 1 para 32(1))
Rehabilitation period 1 year from the date of conviction, or when the order ceases to take effect, whichever is longer (Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 s 5(5)(da))
A Youth Rehabilitation Order (YRO) can broadly be described as a juvenile equivalent to the Community Order. As the name suggests, the order is geared towards rehabilitation and a correction of behaviour, as opposed to straight punishment. However, the order does contain punitive elements and the court can make up the order in whatever way it deems appropriate, subject to some limitations.
The order must not last longer than 3 years, by which point, all the requirements must have been complied with.
Types of order
There are three:
b) YRO with Intensive Supervision and Surveillance
c) YRO with Fostering
Power to order
When a person aged under 18 is convicted of an offence, the court may imposed a YRO, imposing any one or more of the requirements listed below. (CJIA 2008 s 1(1))
In order for a court to impose a YRO, it must be satisfied that the offence is serious enough. Where it is so satisfied, there remains a discretion whether or not to impose the order. (Youth Sentencing Guideline 2009)
Before making a YRO, the court must obtain and consider information about the offender’s family circumstances and the likely effect of a YRO on those circumstances. (CJIA 2008 Sch 1 para 28)
List of available requirements
Activity (see paragraphs 6 to 8 of Schedule 1)
Supervision (see paragraph 9 of that Schedule)
Unpaid work, in a case where the offender is aged 16 or 17 at the time of the conviction, (see paragraph 10 of that Schedule)
Programme (see paragraph 11 of that Schedule)
Attendance centre (see paragraph 12 of that Schedule)
Prohibited activity (see paragraph 13 of that Schedule)
Curfew (see paragraph 14 of that Schedule)
Exclusion (see paragraph 15 of that Schedule)
Residence (see paragraph 16 of that Schedule)
Local authority residence (see paragraph 17 of that Schedule)
Mental health treatment (see paragraph 20 of that Schedule)
Drug treatment (see paragraph 22 of that Schedule)
Drug testing (see paragraph 23 of that Schedule)
Intoxicating substance treatment (see paragraph 24 of that Schedule)
Education (see paragraph 25 of that Schedule)
(CJIA 2008 s 1(1))
Imposing requirements Requirements are imposed on a case by case basis; that is, the court will assess what is the most appropriate way in which to deal with the offender in light of all the circumstances.
Special orders YRO with Intensive Supervision and Surveillance/Fostering A court may only make such an order if:
a) the court is dealing with an offender for an offence which is punishable by imprisonment,
b) the court is of the opinion that the offence(s) are so serious that […] a custodial sentence would have been appropriate, and
c) if the offender was under 15 at the time of conviction, the court is of the opinion that he or she is a persistent offender. (CJIA 2008 s 1(4))
Who is a persistent offender? Parliament left this question ‘to the good sense of the court’ (R v B 2001 1 Cr App R (S) 113 (p 389)
No previous convictions The fact that an offender does not have previous convictions does not preclude him from being categorised as a persistent offender (R v S 2001 1 Cr App R (S) 18 (p 62))
Cautions Cautions can be used when assessing whether an offender is a persistent offender (R v D 2001 1 Cr App R (S) 59 (p 202))
YRO with Fostering
What is it? An order which requires that the offender resides with a local authority foster parent for a period not longer than 12 months, and must not include any period in which the offender is aged 18.
Why is it imposed? These orders are made because the court is of the opinion that the circumstances in which the offender is living contributed to a significant extent to the offending behaviour and that such an order would assist in the offender’s rehabilitation.
Other The order must also include a supervision requirement.
The offender must be legally represented.
YRO with Intensive Supervision and Surveillance
What can it include? The order may include an extended activity requirement (maximum 180 days) and a curfew requirement with an electronic monitoring requirement.
Why is it imposed? Typically, where the court feels that a conventional YRO would not ‘fit the bill’ and that the offender requires a heightened level of supervision in order for it to achieve the desired effect.