In very serious cases, or where many offences have been committed, youth courts can impose a detention and training order for up to two years and crown courts can make sentences of any length, including life terms.
Courts must always think very carefully before making a custodial sentence. The youth justice service will provide a pre-sentence report to help them do this. The pre-sentence report sets out the main risks and needs of the young person and describes alternative measures which may be available to the court.
If the court decides that a detention and training order must be made, then the young person is taken to a secure establishment. They will serve around half of their sentence in custody, followed by a period of supervision in the community.
Most custodial sentences give young people the chance to have training, education and recreation during their sentence. Young people will have the chance to earn privileges and possibly be released early if they engage and respond well to what is asked of them.
Youth justice service staff often visit young people during their sentence and help them to plan for their release. Parents and carers are also encouraged to attend sentence planning meetings.
Visits and advice
It is often very upsetting for families when a young person is sentenced to custody. The young person may be placed a considerable distance away from home and will often miss family events. The young person may also be very unhappy in custody, which is especially distressing for parents and carers.
We provide advice and support to help parents and carers cope with this. We can sometimes arrange transfer to a secure establishment nearer home or negotiate special releases to attend major family events like funerals. We can provide information and contact details for secure establishments, and financial support for travel costs when visiting. Ask your youth justice service officer for more information about this.
When a young person receives a custodial sentence, a youth justice service worker will visit them in the court cells. We will check out their welfare and make sure that their family or carers know what’s happening. Parents and carers are also assisted to attend visits and meetings in the secure establishment, working together to plan for the young person’s release.
Detention and training
Our detention and training orders document is available to view.