There are a variety of custodial sentences which can be handed down by the courts. Each of these will have different periods spent in custody, and in the community on a licence. All MAPPA offenders will be managed during this custodial period by the National Probation Service.
These sentences are:
- Determinate Sentences: This type of sentence has a fixed end point, and is the sentence handed down when a judge states a set length of time. Since 2005, all offenders subject to a determinate sentence will be automatically released into the community at the half way point of their sentence. The majority of earlier sentenced offenders subject to determinate sentences were converted in 2007, however there remains a very small number of long term offenders sentenced under the Criminal Justice Act 1991 who are instead automatically released at the two-thirds point of their sentence. Also, any offenders who are sentenced to a determinate sentence of under 12 months for an offence prior to 1 February 2015 are not released on licence.
- Determinate Sentences with Post Sentence Supervision (PSS): Following changes in legislation, any offender subject to a custodial sentence of longer than one day for a sentence committed on or after 1 February 2015 are now managed on licence. For such offenders whose sentences are less than 2 years will also be subject to a post sentence supervision period following the end of their licence period. Regardless of the length of sentence, the licence and PSS period will always add up to a total of 12 months.
- Extended Determinate Sentences: Offenders who the courts deem to be at risk of committing further serious sexual or violent offences may receive an extended sentence. There have been various types of extended sentence with different release mechanisms as the legislation has been amended over the years but the basic principle of an extended sentence has remained the same. It comprises a custodial period plus an ‘extension period’ – an additional period of licence for the purpose of protecting the public from further serious offending. The automatic release points can vary between the hallway point to the end of the custodial sentence, with the offender reviewed for release earlier than that by the Parole Board.
- Life Sentences: An offender given a life sentence will have a “tariff” stated by the sentencing judge. This tariff is the minimum period that the offender must serve in custody before they can be considered for release on licence by the Parole Board. Once an offender is released on licence, they will remain on licence for the rest of their lives.
- Indeterminate Sentence for Public Protection (IPP): This type of sentence operates in a similar way to a life sentence but with two key differences. Firstly, the tariff set by the judge is typically shorter than those placed on offenders subject to life sentences. Secondly, following a ten year period served in the community on licence, an offender subject to an IPP can apply to have the sentence terminated/ended. This decision will be made by the courts. Otherwise it operates as a life sentence, with the offender subject to review by the Parole Board in order to be released, and until the sentence is terminated, the offender will remain on licence. Both life sentences and IPP sentences are collectively called “Indeterminate Sentences” as the courts do not set an end point for the sentence when it is handed down.