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Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008

Section 15:  Extended sentences for certain violent or sexual offences: persons 18 or over

199.Section 15 amends section 227 of the 2003 Act (extended sentence for certain violent or sexual offences: persons 18 or over)

200.Subsection (2) amends section 227(1) to allow extended sentences to be given for “serious” violent and sexual offences i.e. offences in Schedule 15 which carry a maximum penalty of 10 years or more. The power to give extended sentences for violent or sexual offences carrying a maximum penalty of less than 10 years is left intact.

201.Subsections (3) and (4) amend section 227(2) and insert new subsections (2A) and (2B). The amendments have the following effect.

  • They give the court a power rather than a duty to impose an extended sentence;

  • They provide that this power may only be exercised where either of two conditions is met: either the immediate offence would attract an “appropriate custodial term” of at least 4 years; or the offender has on a previous occasion been convicted of one of the offences listed in Schedule 15A.

202.Subsection (4) also inserts a new subsection (2C) which sets out the structure of the extended sentence: it consists of an “appropriate custodial term” followed by a further licence period. This simply reproduces the definition of extended sentence of imprisonment which is currently in section 227(2).

203.Subsection (5) is consequential and preserves the current position whereby (a) the custodial period of the extended sentence is set according to the seriousness of the offence; (b) if the seriousness of the offence would normally warrant a custodial period of less than 12 months, the court must impose a custodial period of 12 months. (The provision mentioned at (b) may continue to be relevant in cases where the court is imposing an extended sentence on the basis that the condition in section 227(2A) ) is met (i.e., that the offender has on a previous occasion been convicted of one of the offences specified in Schedule 15A).

204.Subsection (6) gives the Secretary of State an order-making power to amend the custodial period of 4 years specified in new subsection (2B). This is because the intention is that the condition should be met only if the offence warrants that the offender spend a minimum period of 2 years in custody. This currently means that a custodial period of at least 4 years should be imposed, as release on licence from an extended sentence occurs at the halfway point (under section 247 of the 2003 Act, as amended by section 25 of this Act). The proportion of sentence served prior to release on licence may be changed, however, by secondary legislation. If this were to happen, the figure of 4 years would need to be changed accordingly, to retain the 2 year threshold.

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