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Ex-Offender Information

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Ex-Offender Information

Rehabilitation Periods

The length of the rehabilitation period depends on the sentence given - not the offence committed. For a custodial sentence, the length of time actually served is irrelevant: the rehabilitation period is decided by the original sentence. Custodial sentences of more than 2 1/2 years can never become spent.

The following sentences become spent after fixed periods from the date of conviction:

Sentence Rehabilitation Period
  People aged
18 or over
when convicted
People aged
17 and under 
when convicted
Prison sentences <1> of 6 months or less 7 years 3 1/2 years
Prison sentences <1> of more than
6 months to 2 1/2 years
10 years 5 years
Borstal (abolished in 1983) 7 years 7 years
Detention centres (abolished in 1988) 3 years 3 years
Fines,<2>
probation, <3>
compensation,
community service,
combination action plan,
curfew orders,
drug treatment and testing,
and reparation orders
5 years 2 1/2 years
Absolute discharge 6 months 6 months

<1> Including suspended sentences, youth custody (abolished in 1988) and detention in a young offender institution.
<2> Even if subsequently imprisoned for fine default.
<3> For people convicted on or after 3 February 1995 (from which date the rehabilitation period for a probation order was changed under the terms of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994).

With some sentences the rehabilitation period varies:

Sentence Rehabilitation Period
Probation <1>, supervision, care order,
conditional discharge or bind-over
1 year or until the order expires
(whichever is longer)
Attendance centre orders 1 year after the order expires
Hospital orders (with or without
a restriction order)
5 years or 2 years after the order expires
(whichever is longer)
Referral Order once the order expires

<1> For people convicted before 3 February 1995

Disqualifications

The rehabilitation period for a disqualification is the length of the disqualification. If a person is disqualified at the same time as receiving another penalty, the longer rehabilitation period applies. (For example, if a motorist is banned from driving for seven years and fined - which takes five years to become spent - the rehabilitation period would be seven years, not five years.)

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