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Part 7 of the Bill is divided into two Chapters.

Part 7, Chapter 1 makes provisions regarding custodial sentences and would:

  • Require courts to impose minimum sentences for certain repeat offences unless there are exceptional circumstances that relate to any of the offences or to the offender which would make it unjust to do so
  • Make the “starting point” a whole life order when setting the term of a life sentence for the premeditated murder of a child
  • Allow judges to impose, in exceptional circumstances, a whole life order on offenders aged 18 to 20
  • Provide for new starting points for murder committed by children, based on the adult system, and depending on seriousness and age
  • Reduce the number of reviews of their minimum term an offender, sentenced to Detention at Her Majesty’s Pleasure for murder committed whilst under 18, is entitled to after they turn 18
  • Change the way the minimum term of a life sentence is calculated, where imposed other than for murder, from being based on half of a notional determinate sentence length to at least two thirds
  • Provide that for offenders sentenced to between four and seven years for certain sexual and violent offences, the automatic release point will be the two thirds point of their sentence (currently it is halfway)
  • Provide that offenders serving a ‘sentence for offenders of particular concern’ for a child sex offence, would be required to serve two thirds of their sentence in prison before they can apply to the Parole Board for release
  • Enable the Secretary of State to refer to the Parole Board any prisoner who would normally be released automatically, but who is deemed to present a terrorist or other significant danger to the public.
  • Expand the rules the Secretary of State may make concerning proceedings of the Parole Board, allowing the Secretary of State to make rules:
    • requiring or permitting the Parole Board to make provisional decisions; and
    • conferring a power on the Parole Board to set aside its decisions and directions in certain circumstances
  • Repeal uncommenced provisions for the establishment of recall adjudicators, set out responsibilities for setting licence conditions for fixed term prisoners and make changes to the law on the recall and re-release of recalled prisoners serving determinate sentences
  • Provide a power for the Secretary of State to change the test for the release of fixed term prisoners following recall
  • Amend the law so that the Parole Board would no longer be able to direct ‘immediate’ release. Instead, the Secretary of State would be required to give effect to the direction as soon as it is reasonably practicable in all the circumstances
  • Make changes to the law so that the length of the extension period required when a driver disqualification is imposed with a custodial sentence takes account of the new release points for various offenders resulting from recent changes to the law.

Part 7, Chapter 2 makes provisions regarding community sentences and would:

  • Give probation practitioners the power to require an offender serving a community order or suspended sentence order to attend an appointment for the duration of the order
  • Increase the maximum daily curfew hours which can be imposed as part of a curfew requirement and the maximum curfew requirement period under a community order or suspended sentence order
  • Allow probation practitioners to vary curfew requirements in two limited respects without approval from the court
  • Make provision for pilots of problem-solving courts
  • Impose a duty on the probation service to consult with key stakeholders on the delivery of unpaid work.

The clauses discussed in this briefing would apply and extend to England and Wales only, except for clauses 117 and 118 which would apply to Scotland only, and clause 123, which would extend and apply to England and Wales and Scotland.

Many of these provisions reflect changes proposed in A Smarter Approach to Sentencing  published in September 2020.  

The Government has published the following factsheets in connection with this part of this Bill:

Documents to download

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