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Information » Law & Rights » Punishment and Sentences » Prison

  • Anyone aged 10 or over can be given a custodial sentence and they are most likely to be given for the very serious offences such as murder, rape and armed robbery.
  • If you are under 18 then you can only be detained for long periods if you are convicted of the following:
    • Indecent assault
    • Causing death by dangerous driving
    • Causing death while under the influence of drugs or drink
    • An offence which carries at least a maximum sentence of 14 years' imprisonment for an adult e.g. armed robbery
    • Murder, when you can be detained until the Home Secretary decides it is safe to release you, which could be never
    • If you are 12-14 and have committed 3 or more offences of the sort an adult could go to prison for, you can be sentenced to a secure training order which means 6 months - 2 years punishment, half at a secure training centre and half in the community
    • If you are aged 15-17 then as well as long term detention for very serious offences you can be sentenced to detention for other offences - like an adult except that you will go to a young offenders institution for a maximum of 2 years
  • Prison life is difficult you are controlled by rules and regulations at all times.
  • You are allowed to keep in touch with people outside prison by telephone and letters, but these are restricted.
  • You will also be allowed visits from people outside. Keeping up this contact is important in helping you to settle into normal society once the sentence is finished.
  • If you have family in prison it may help to talk to people who can offer you support.
  • The following number offers a helpline for advice, information and support for families and friends of prisoners 0800 0853021

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