Sentences of imprisonment for young people

There are a variety of options available when sentencing young people to imprisonment.

Young people can be sentenced to:

  • Detention and Training Order (DTO).
  • Imprisonment under section 90 or 91 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000.
  • Imprisonment under section 226 or 228 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.

Detention and Training Orders

The DTO will be set for a fixed term with a maximum of 24 months, half of which is served in detention. The remainder in the community under the supervision of a probation officer, social worker or a member of Dorset Combined Youth Offending Service (YOS). It is available for males and females.

Sentences under Section 90/91

Allows for sentences of imprisonment greater than 24 months and for life sentences for grave crimes. Release is subject to the agreement of the Parole Board.

Sentences under Section 226/228 (imprisonment for public protection)

Allows for an indeterminate sentence of detention, or an extended sentence of detention, to be made where the young person is assessed as presenting a danger to the public. Release may be denied or subject to extended conditions to protect the public.

The Youth Justice Board, after discussion with the Youth Offending Service, is responsible for placing young people in custody.

Typically those aged under 15 will be held in an Secure Children's Home (SCH). Those over 15 will be held in either a Young Offender Institution (YOI) or Secure Training Centre (STC).

All females are placed in an SCH or an STC. A different category of YOI holds young people between the ages of 18 and 21, or to the point when they are ready to make the full transition to the adult prison estate which in some cases is before they reach the age of 21.

The regimes in YOIs holding young people are designed to provide a safe and secure environment for young people. These take account of the responsibilities and child centred approach reflected in the Children Act 1989, the Children Act 2004 and the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009. Full provision is made for education, health, offending behaviour programmes and maintaining links with home and family.

Release and post release supervision

Young people in custody receive regular visits from YOS officers throughout their time in custody. Planning for release takes place at an early stage.

For many young people returning to the community is the toughest part of the sentence. Especially when they have made positive changes that they want to maintain. The YOS provides supervision for young people in the community right up to the end of their sentence. This reduces the risk that the young person will be drawn back to further offending and in some cases to protect the public.

  • A plan is made with the young person and their family and supporters before the young person is released.
  • On release the young person may have additional conditions imposed to protect the public. This also is to try to ensure a good start in the community.
  • Key services are identified to help the young person continue the progress started during the custodial part of their sentence.
  • Regular reviews help make sure that the plan is working in practice and that progress is being made.
  • Some young people may be supervised with an Intensive Supervision and Surveillance programme (ISS) if that additional level of intervention is thought important.


Missed appointments and failure to engage in the release plan may mean that the young person is taken back to court. In some cases recalled to prison directly, for breach of the conditions of release. If a young person appears in court for breach they may be fined or sent back to prison for all or part of the rest of their sentence.

Contact details East Dorset

Dorset Combined Youth Offending Service
Bournemouth Learning Centre
Ensbury Avenue
BH10 4HG


Telephone: 01202 794321

Contact details West Dorset

Dorset Combined Youth Offending Service
Monkton Park
Winterborne Monkton


Telephone: 0300 123 3339