Where the court imposes a custodial sentence of two years or less it may suspend the sentence, for up to two years, and also impose one or more community requirements. This is a decision for the independent judiciary. If the offender breaches a suspended sentence order, there is a statutory presumption that the custodial sentence will be given effect, unless it would be unjust to do so in view of all of the circumstances.
Repeat offenders can expect to go straight to prison if they commit a serious offence. Offenders serving suspended custodial sentences, however, have a lower re-offending rate than offenders serving immediate, short custodial sentences.
The highest number of suspended sentences received by one person who has not also received an immediate custodial sentence, as recorded on the Police National Computer (PNC) up to 31 December 2015, and the latest sentencing occasion being (a) in a magistrate’s court was 10 and (b) in the Crown Court was 6.
The highest number of suspended sentences received by one person, as recorded on the PNC up to December 2015, before receiving an immediate custodial sentence in; (a) a magistrate’s court was 9 and (b) the Crown Court was 8.