Tuesday, 24 November 2015
Prison sentence types
Prison sentences and your insurance
Imprisonment serves as the punishment for crimes so serious that there is no alternative available, and for cases where a court believes the offender is too much of a danger to the public to allow them to live freely in society.
Remand, previous and multiple
If you have spent time on remand (where you are remanded in custody, perhaps while waiting for a trial) the time you have lost will be removed from any subsequent prison sentence. If you are convicted for more than one crime, then you will often receive a sentence for each one. Sentences given for multiple convictions at once might either be served concurrently (at the same time) or consecutively (one after the other) and you will be informed by the judge what type of sentence you are receiving and how it will have to be served.
Suspended sentences often do not send you directly to prison, but require you to serve your sentence in the community. You will usually be required to meet certain conditions like "community payback", or keeping away from certain people or places. Breaking of rules while you are on a suspended sentence, or committing additional crimes, will often lead to you finishing off your sentence in prison (unless there are exceptional mitigating circumstances).
Determinate sentences are of a fixed length of time. For determinate sentences of over 12 months, you will usually be required to spend the first half of it in prison and the second half "on licence" in the community. Breaking rules or committing more crimes while on licence may result in you returning to prison to complete your sentence. If your sentence is less than 12 months then you are reduced automatically halfway through your sentence, but you will not be supervised by the probation service. You can still be sent back to prison if you commit another crime though.
Indeterminate sentences are not required to be of a fixed length of time and you have no right to be released by a certain date and are usually required to serve a minimum tariff before you can be considered for release. Indeterminate sentences are often given out in cases where it is believed the offender may be a danger to the public. Release in this case is determined by the parole board. A life sentence is similar, except that it lasts for the rest of your life even if you are released after your minimum tariff. This means you will always be able to be sent back to prison if you don't meet the terms of your license or commit more crimes. A whole life term is applied to the most serious of cases, where you receive no minimum tariff so can never be released.
People with unspent criminal convictions are likely to have a hard time getting home insurance with their convictions, as are those with ex-offenders living in their household. Most insurers will unfairly assume that, as an ex-offender, you present too much risk to insure. This is not the opinion shared by HomeProtect. With us you can get a competitive online quote for criminal convictions insurance, whether the convictions belong to your or to anyone else in your home. We believe in providing insurance for ex-offenders without discriminating unfairly against them, and work closely with a number of reformed offenders' organisations in pursuit of providing fairer access to all.