• Patterns of sentencing: differential sentencing across England and Wales

      Bateman, Tim; Stanley, Chris; Nacro; Youth Justice Board; British Quality Foundation (NCJRS Publication, 2002)
      This report presents findings from a research study commissioned by the Youth Justice Board to identify the relative seriousness of offenses leading to custody and other high level penalties in a range of areas where differential patterns of custodial sentencing prevailed. Criminal statistics for England and Wales reveal substantial geographic variation in the pattern of youth sentencing. Statistics to the Youth Justice Board (YJB) provides evidence of this variation. This research study, commissioned by the YJB, explored any relationship between the use of high tariff disposal, with a particular emphasis on custodial penalties, and a range of possible influences upon patterns of sentencing. The study specifically investigated the distribution of sentences below the level of custody, case gravity, including the seriousness of current offending and previous convictions, the perceived range and quality of local youth justice services to support court orders short of custody, and the effectiveness of communication between the youth offending team and the court and the exchange of information between agencies involved in the delivery of youth justice. Highlights of key findings on distinguishing characteristics typical of high and low custody areas include for low custody areas: (1) greater use of lower level penalties; (2) lower use of community sentences; (3) greater use of unconditional bail; (4) magistrates express greater confidence in delivery of services; and (5) pre-sentence reports more effective as a mechanism for provision of information. Highlights of key findings for high custody areas include: (1) lower use of lower level penalties; (2) higher use of community penalties; (3) lower average case gravity scores for community sentences; (4) magistrates express reduced confidence in delivery of services; and (5) pre-sentence reports less effective as a mechanism for provision of information. Appendixes 1-5