Throughcare

The following information relates to offenders over the age of 16.  For Youth offending, please see Youth offending - general information

Throughcare is used to provide services to all prisoners both during and after their sentence.  The service provided depends on the length of the sentence and whether the Court has imposed compulsory supervision.  The objectives are:

  • to help prisoners and their families to prepare for release and to resettle in the community
  • to increase community safety and public protection by providing a service to reduce re-offending
  • to ensure that all high risk offenders are supervised effectively after release

The probation, court and throughcare team provide appropriate supervision to offenders after release, and if an offender either re-offends, breaches certain conditions, or behaves in a way to cause concern, then the team will report their concerns to the court or parole board who will take the appropriate action.

Throughcare supervision

An offender can be placed in the community and be subject to statutory supervision orders.  In such cases, the Criminal Justice Service provides reports on the individual's progress to the courts and Parole Board, and if they don't comply with these orders, they can be returned to court or custody. Some examples of statutory orders with which an offender may be made to comply are:

Extended sentence

Any person sentenced in the High Court for a violent or sexual offence, and in the Sheriff Court for a sexual offence, can be ordered by the court to be under ’extended supervision’ following release.  The period of extension can be up to five years in the Sheriff Court and ten years in the High Court.

Failure to comply with the licence can result in recall to prison to serve the remainder of the extended sentence.

Life licence

Any prisoner serving a life sentence is given a ’punishment tariff’.  This is the minimum period that the offender has to serve before being eligible for release on licence by the Parole Board.  The Parole Board have to consider a variety of reports before deciding whether the prisoner’s risk can be managed in the community.

A life licence lasts for the rest of the offender’s natural life and failure to comply can result in recall for the rest of his/her life.

Parole licence

Any person serving a sentence of four years or over (but excluding life) can ask the Parole Board to be considered for release on licence after serving half of the sentence.  The Parole Board has to consider the risk that the offender may pose and whether these risks can be managed in the community.  The Parole Board will consider reports from Criminal Justice Social Workers, Prison Social Workers, Prison Officers, Police etc.

Failure to comply with the licence can result in recall to prison for the remainder of the sentence.

Non-parole licence

Any person serving a sentence of four years and over (but excluding life) who fails to be released on Parole, is automatically released on licence after serving two thirds of the sentence.  Failure to comply with the licence can result in recall to prison for the remainder of the sentence.

Short-term sex offender licence

Any person convicted of a sexual offence and sentenced to between six months and four years in custody will be subject to compulsory supervision arrangements from the date of release (usually at the half-way point) until the end-date of their sentence.

Supervised Release Order

Any person (other than a sex offender) sentenced to less than four years in custody can be ordered by the Court to be compulsorily supervised for up to one year following release.

These orders should only be imposed where the Court believes it would help prevent serious harm.  The offender must comply with the reasonable instructions of the supervising officer.

Voluntary throughcare

A final service that the Criminal Justice Service provides to those during sentence, or for up to one year after release, is a voluntary throughcare service.  This provides offenders with access to the prison social work unit or community Criminal Justice Service if they wish to seek advice and guidance.

One important strand of this work is the Throughcare Addiction Service through which offenders who identify themselves as wanting help with addiction problems whilst they are in custody are linked to a specialist worker in the community.  This worker will visit and keep in touch with the person in the run up to their release date, during which time a referral will be made to an appropriate support agency in the local area.  The worker will then keep in touch for at least six weeks after release to support the person in their recovery.

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