Sentences Other Than Imprisonment:
The Criminal Justice System makes provisions for sentences other than a term of imprisonment to be given to offenders who have attained age 17 years but are under the age of 23 years and have not been convicted for any offence.
The Exceptions are cases where:
- The Court is of the opinion that the offender can only be dealt with by imprisonment.
- The offence can only be treated by a mandatory sentence, that is, a sentence fixed by law.
- Violence or threat of violence has been used in the commission of the offence; or
- The offender at the time of commission of the offence was in illegal possession of a firearm or imitation firearm.
What Are The Alternatives?
Except for mandatory sentence of imprisonment, the court may impose a fine. The Court may:
- Allow time for payment of the fine.
- Direct that the fine be paid by instalments.
Any default in payment of any instalment of the fine can result in imprisonment!
Pay the instalments - don't end up in prison...
A Court which passes a sentence of imprisonment for a term of not more than three years may order that the sentences be suspended and served in the community unsupervised.
A suspended sentence is not a "Bound Over".
Suspended Sentence Supervision Order
Offenders who have had their sentences suspended is placed under the supervision of a Probation After-Care Officer for a period not exceeding that for which the sentence has been suspended or normally up to three (3) years.
The persons on suspended sentence supervision orders are expected to:-
- Have a place of residence.
- Keep in touch with the Probation Office.
- Receive advice and counselling from the Probation Officer.
Admonished and Discharged
An individual may also be admonished and discharged. This means that he/she receives a stern warning from the Judge.
The offender is supervised in the community and must follow a set of conditions (rules) set out in his/her Probation Order.
Conditions of Probation include keeping the peace, being of good behaviour, obeying the law and reporting regularly to a Probation Officer.
The order may include a range of other conditions.
Community Service Orders
The court may, with the consent of an offender 17 years or over, make an order requiring him to perform unpaid work for a period of not less than 40 hours or more than 360 hours for a single offence and up to 480 hours for more than one offence.
Who Do Not Benefit From Community Service Orders?
Persons who commit offences involving:-
- Use of threat of violence.
- The use of, or the illegal possession of, a firearm or,
- The use of imitation firearm or the possession of an imitation firearm.
- Persons who do not have a fixed place of residence.
Expectations Of The Orderee:
- The offender doing Community Service should report to the Probation Officer.
- Perform the number of hours specified in the order as he may be instructed by the probation officer.
Expectations Of The Probation Officers:
The Probation Officers seek to instruct the offender and tries to avoid any conflict with the offender’s religious beliefs or interference with the times of his normal employment or educational activities.
If the Offender fails to comply with any of the requirements of the Community Service Order he may be summoned to appear before the court.
- The offender may be fined
- His Community Service Order may be revoked.