Services in courts
Probation staff work in each of the magistrates’ and crown courts in Humberside. A range of services is provided both for the sentencers (Magistrates and Judges) and the offenders who appear before the courts. Probation staff are available within the courts to handle enquiries and give advice to sentencers, including providing further verbal information to complement a written report.
Providing Pre-Sentence Reports
When offenders appear in court, Magistrates and Judges may ask Humberside Probation Trust for Pre-sentence Reports (PSRs) before passing sentence. These reports involve our staff interviewing offenders to assess the risk they pose to the public, their motivation to stop offending and the impact of their crime on the victim. PSRs also propose a sentence – although the court makes the final decision.
Where a community sentence is proposed, the report identifies how it would act as a punishment, addresses reasons for offending and contains an outline sentence plan. In cases where a custodial sentence is proposed, information is given to the court about the effects this may have on the offender’s home life and any employment.
Types of Pre-Sentence Reports
There are two types of Pre-Sentence Reports
- Oral reports are presented verbally in court and are completed on the day of sentence. They are generally used when the Judge or Magistrates have a specific sentence in mind.
- Written reports are provided when courts have not indicated consideration of a specific sentence, or there is a clear need for a more detailed assessment than an oral report can provide. The level of complexity and nature of risk and needs will determine whether the written report is completed on the day or within five or 15 days.
While crown court cases may require reports taking up to 15 days, the majority of reports for magistrates’ court cases are likely to be oral or produced within five days. There may be exceptions to this based on the complexity of the offence and indicators of risk of serious harm such as:
- Complex cases that require additional assessments
- Cases involving serious mental health and/or vulnerability
- Cases involving serious sexual or violent offending (including high-risk domestic abuse cases)
- Complex and serious child safeguarding issues.