Being clear about sentencing – why people get the punishments they do – is a key part of understanding how the criminal justice system works. The purpose of this chart is to show the sentences that are given to offenders by the courts.
A sentence has to fulfil five purposes, including punishing offenders and reducing reoffending. There are a range of sentences that judges and magistrates can use to do this.
The type of sentence an offender gets depends on the type of crime committed. Once the judge or magistrate has taken account of the sentencing guidelines, they can adjust it according to the circumstances of the offence.
This could include whether the crime was planned in advance for example, whether it was a first offence, or whether the offender pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.
Some sentences are typically more appropriate for certain offences than for others. Find out what sentences judges have been handing out in your local court since 2005. You can search by court and by offence type.
These figures are based on experimental statistics released in May 2012 by the Ministry of Justice on the Justice website. Feedback can be emailed to the Ministry of Justice statistics enquiries mailbox.
The figures presented here are court aggregates of both adult and young offenders sentenced in magistrates’ and Crown Court. For those who were sentenced for more than one offence, the offence featured here is the one for which the heaviest penalty was imposed.
While every effort is made to ensure that the figures are accurate and complete please note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces - with the inevitable limitations that such data collection processes entail.