The Sentencing Advisory Panel has called for the maximum jail term for antisocial behaviour order breaches by young offenders to be halved to one year, in all but exceptional cases.
The body, which advises on sentencing, issued guidance for consultation yesterday, saying such custodial sentences should only go beyond 12 months when there has been a series of breeches involving serious harassment, alarm or distress.
The guidance states that in most cases of Asbo breaches by young offenders the appropriate sentence will be a community order.
It says custody should only be considered where the breach involves serious harassment, alarm or distress, but adds that even then a custodial sentence “will not be inevitable”.
John Fassenfelt, chair of the Magistrates’ Association’s youth courts committee, said that it was very rare for young offenders breaching their Asbos to be given two-year sentences. He added that research had shown that high custodial rates for young offenders who breached their Asbos was not due to the breaches themselves but separate crimes the offenders had also committed.
“The guidance reflects what’s happening on the ground,” he added.
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