Share Article: Rehabilitation of Offenders

On 28th October 2023 provisions in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 came into effect, enacting changes to the laws in relation to the rehabilitation of offenders.

These amendments extend the scope of the Rehabilitation of Offenders At as it applies to England and Wales so that certain custodial sentences of over four years currently excluded from rehabilitation may become spent, unless imposed in respect of certain offences.

It also amends the times at which different sentences may become spent and makes provision on the face of the ROA for the rehabilitation periods that apply to certain orders on conviction.

The government states that over 120,000 former offenders will find it easier to get work and turn their lives away from crime following this change in the law.

Key Changes

Custodial sentences of four years or more years for less serious crimes become ‘spent’ after a seven-year period of rehabilitation, as long as no further offence is committed.

Some of the more serious sexual, violent, and terrorist offences are excluded from these changes.

The new rehabilitation periods are as follows:

SentenceAdultsUnder 18’s
(Adult) Community Order/Youth              Rehabilitation OrderThe last day on which the order
has effect
The last day on which the order
has effect
Custody of 1 year or less1 year6 months
Custody of more than 1 year and
up to 4 years
4 years2 years
Custody of more than 4 years*7 years3.5 years

*excluding serious sexual, violent, or terrorist offences, that continue to never be spent

Previous rehabilitation periods were:

SentenceAdultsUnder 18’s
(Adult) Community Order/Youth Rehabilitation Order1 year beginning with the last day on
which the order has effect
6 months beginning with the last day
on which the order has effect
Custody of 6 months or less2 years18 months
Custody of more than 6 months and
up to 30 months
4 years2 years
Custody of more than 30 months and
up to 4 years
7 years3.5 years
Custody of more than 4 yearsConviction is never spentConviction is never spent

The actual detail of these changes can be quite complex, so do not hesitate to contact us to discuss the direct implications of these changes on your own circumstances.

How can we help?
If you need specialist advice on a matter of criminal law, then get in touch with our Crime Team on 020 7935 3522 or or in an emergency please call our 24/7 number 07973 259382 and let us help. We can advise on a plea, defences and potential sentences in a wide range of circumstances.

Whatever your personal circumstances the above is only a guide and we would advise you to contact us to obtain definitive advice as you will appreciate that each person’s circumstances are unique to them.

Image credit: “New Beginning” by Melody Campbell is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


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