Criminal Justice Act 1948

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1948 c. 58


Criminal Justice Act, 1948

(11 & 12 Geo. 6.) CHAPTER 58.

An Act to abolish penal servitude, hard labour, prison divisions and sentence of whipping; to amend the law relating to the probation of offenders, and otherwise to reform existing methods and provide new methods of dealing with offenders and persons liable to imprisonment; to amend the law relating to the proceedings of criminal courts, including the law relating to evidence before such courts; to abolish privilege of peerage in criminal proceedings; to regulate the management of prisons and other institutions and the treatment of offenders and other persons committed to custody; to re-enact certain enactments relating to the matters aforesaid; and for purposes connected therewith.

[30th July 1948]

Be it enacted by the King's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I Powers and Proceedings of Courts.

Part I.

Powers and Proceedings of Courts.

Abolition of penal servitude, hard labour, prison divisions and sentence of whipping.

Abolition of penal servitude, hard labour, prison divisions and sentence of whipping.

S-1 Abolition of penal servitude, hard labour and prison divisions.

1 Abolition of penal servitude, hard labour and prison divisions.

(1) No person shall be sentenced by a court to penal servitude; and every enactment conferring power on a court to pass a sentence of penal servitude in any case shall be construed as conferring power to pass a sentence of imprisonment for a term not exceeding the maximum term of penal servitude for which a sentence could have been passed in that case immediately before the commencement of this Act.

(2) No person shall be sentenced by a court to imprisonment with hard labour; and every enactment conferring power on a court to pass a sentence of imprisonment with hard labour in any case shall be construed as conferring power to pass a sentence of imprisonment for a term not exceeding the term for which a sentence of imprisonment with hard labour could have been passed in that case immediately before the commencement of this Act; and so far as any enactment requires or permits prisoners to be kept to hard labour it shall cease to have effect.

(3) So far as any enactment provides that a person sentenced to imprisonment or committed to prison is or may be directed to be treated as an offender of a particular division, or to be placed in a separate division, it shall cease to have effect.

S-2 Abolition of sentence of whipping.

2 Abolition of sentence of whipping.

2.—No person shall be sentenced by a court to whipping; and so far as any enactment confers power on a court to pass a sentence of whipping it shall cease to have effect.

Probation and discharge.

Probation and discharge.

S-3 Probation.

3 Probation.

(1) Where a court by or before which a person is convicted of an offence (not being an offence the sentence for which is fixed by law) is of opinion that having regard to the circumstances, including the nature of the offence and the character of the offender, it is expedient to do so, the court may, instead of sentencing him, make a probation order, that is to say, an order requiring him to be under the supervision of a probation officer for a period to be specified in the order of not less than one year nor more than three years.

(2) A probation order shall name the petty sessional division in which the offender resides or will reside; and the offender shall (subject to the provisions of the First Schedule to this Act relating to probationers who change their residence) be required to be under the supervision of a probation officer appointed for or assigned to that division.

(3) Subject to the provisions of the next following section, a probation order may in addition require the offender to comply during the whole or any part of the probation period with such requirements as the court, having regard to the circumstances of the case, considers necessary for securing the good conduct of the offender or for preventing a repetition by him of the same offence or the commission of other offences:

Provided that (without prejudice to the power of the court to make an order under subsection (2) of section eleven of this Act) the payment of sums by way of damages for injury or compensation for loss shall not be included among the requirements of a probation order.

(4) Without prejudice to the generality of the last foregoing subsection, a probation order may include requirements relating to the residence of the offender:

Provided that—

(a ) before making an order containing any such requirements, the court shall consider the home surroundings of the offender; and

(b ) where the order requires the offender to reside in an approved probation hostel, an approved probation home or any other institution, the name of the institution and the period for which he is so required to reside shall be specified in the order, and that period shall not extend beyond twelve months from the date of the order.

(5) Before making a probation order, the court shall explain to the offender in ordinary language the effect of the order (including any additional requirements proposed to be inserted therein under subsection (3) or subsection (4) of this section or under the next following section) and that if he fails to comply therewith or commits another offence he will be liable to be sentenced for the original offence; and if the offender is not less than fourteen years of age the court shall not make the order unless he expresses his willingness to comply with the requirements thereof.

(6) The court by which a probation order is made shall forthwith give copies of the order to a probation officer assigned to the court, and he shall give a copy to the offender, to the probation officer responsible for the supervision of the offender and to the person in charge of any institution in which the probationer is required by the order to reside; and the court shall, except where it is itself the supervising court, send to the clerk to the justices for the petty sessional division named in the order a copy of the order, together with such documents and information relating to the case as it considers likely to be of assistance to the supervising court.

(7) Where a probation order requires the offender to reside in any institution, not being—

(a ) an approved probation hostel or approved probation home; or

(b ) an institution in which he is required to reside for the purposes of any such treatment as is mentioned in paragraph (a ) or paragraph (b ) of subsection (2) of the next following section,

the court shall forthwith give notice of the terms of the order to the Secretary of State.

S-4 Probation orders requiring treatment for mental condition.

4 Probation orders requiring treatment for mental condition.

(1) Where the court is satisfied, on the evidence of a duly qualified medical practitioner appearing to the court to be experienced in the diagnosis of mental disorders, that the mental condition of an offender is such as requires and as may be susceptible to treatment but is not such as to justify his being certified as a person of unsound mind under the Lunacy Act, 1890 , or as a defective under the Mental Deficiency Act, 1913 , the court may, if it makes a probation order, include therein a requirement that the offender shall submit, for such period not extending beyond twelve months from the date of the order as may be specified therein, to treatment by or under the direction of a duly qualified medical practitioner with a view to the improvement of the offender's mental condition.

(2) The treatment required by any such order shall be such one of the following kinds of treatment as may be specified in the order, that is to say—

(a ) treatment as a voluntary patient under section one of the Mental Treatment Act, 1930 , in such institution within the meaning of that Act, or in such hospital, nursing home or place approved by the Minister of Health for the purposes of the said section one, or in the charge of such person so approved, as may be specified in the order;

(b ) treatment as a resident patient in such institution or place approved for the purposes of this section by the said Minister as may be specified in the order;

(c ) treatment as a non-resident patient at such institution or place as may be specified in the order; or

(d ) treatment by or under the direction of such duly qualified medical practitioner as may be specified in the order;

but except as aforesaid the nature of the treatment shall not be specified in the order.

(3) A court shall not make a probation order containing such a requirement as aforesaid unless it is satisfied that arrangements have been or can be made for the treatment intended to be specified in the order, and, if the offender is to be treated as a voluntary patient or as a resident patient as aforesaid, for his reception.

(4) While the probationer is under treatment as a voluntary patient or as a resident patient in pursuance of a requirement of the probation order, the probation officer responsible for his supervision shall carry out the supervision to such extent only as may be necessary for the purpose of the discharge or amendment of the order.

(5) Where the medical practitioner by whom or under whose direction a probationer is being treated for his mental condition in pursuance of a probation order is of opinion that part of the treatment can be better or more conveniently...

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