Criminal Justice Act 1961

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1961 c. 39


Criminal Justice Act, 1961

(9 & 10 Eliz. 2) CHAPTER 39

An Act to amend the law with respect to the powers of courts in respect of young offenders; to make further provision as to the treatment of prisoners and other persons committed to custody, including provision for their supervision after discharge, and the management of prisons, approved schools and other institutions; to re-enact with modifications and additions certain statutory provisions relating to the removal, return and supervision of prisoners within the British Islands; and for purposes connected with the matters aforesaid.

Be it enacted by the Queen'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 of Courts in respect of Young Offenders

Part I

Powers of Courts in respect of Young Offenders

Borstal Training and Imprisonment

Borstal Training and Imprisonment

S-1 Conditions for and term of sentence of borstal training.

1 Conditions for and term of sentence of borstal training.

(1) The minimum age at conviction which qualifies for a sentence of borstal training under section twenty of the Criminal Justice Act, 1948, shall be fifteen instead of sixteen years.

(2) The power of a court to pass a sentence of borstal training under the said section twenty in the case of a person convicted as therein mentioned shall be exercisable in any case where the court is of opinion, having regard to the circumstances of the offence and after taking into account the offender's character and previous conduct, that it is expedient that he should be detained for training for not less than six months:

Provided that such a sentence shall not be passed on a person who is under seventeen years of age on the day of his conviction unless the court is of opinion that no other method of dealing with him is appropriate.

(3) Before passing a sentence of borstal training in the case of an offender of any age, the court shall consider any report made in respect of him by or on behalf of the Prison Commissioners, and section thirty-seven of this Act shall apply accordingly.

(4) The foregoing provisions of this section shall apply in relation to committal for a sentence of borstal training under section twenty-eight of the Magistrates' Courts Act, 1952, as they apply to the passing of such a sentence under section twenty of the Criminal Justice Act, 1948.

(5) Subsections (7) and (8) of section twenty of the Criminal Justice Act, 1948, and subsections (2) and (3) of section twenty-eight of the Magistrates' Courts Act, 1952, shall cease to have effect.

S-2 Serious offences by children and young persons.

2 Serious offences by children and young persons.

(1) In subsection (2) of section fifty-three of the Children and Young Persons Act, 1933 (which provides for the passing of a sentence of detention for a specified period in the case of children or young persons convicted on indictment of certain grave crimes therein mentioned) for the words from ‘an attempt to murder’ to ‘grievous bodily harm’ there shall be substituted the words ‘any offence punishable in the case of an adult with imprisonment for fourteen years or more, not being an offence the sentence for which is fixed by law’.

(2) In subsection (1) of section seventeen of the Criminal Justice Act, 1948 (which precludes a court of assize or quarter sessions from imposing imprisonment on a person under fifteen years of age) for the words ‘fifteen years’ there shall be substituted the words ‘seventeen years’.

S-3 Elimination of intermediate and short prison sentences.

3 Elimination of intermediate and short prison sentences.

(1) Without prejudice to any other enactment prohibiting or restricting the imposition of imprisonment on persons of any age, a sentence of imprisonment shall not be passed by any court on a person within the limits of age which qualify for a sentence of borstal training except—

(a ) for a term not exceeding six months; or

(b ) (where the court has power to pass such a sentence) for a term of not less than three years.

(2) Subsection (1) of this section shall not apply in the case of a person who is serving a sentence of imprisonment at the time when the court passes sentence; and for the purpose of this subsection a person sentenced to imprisonment who has been recalled or returned to prison after being released subject to supervision or on licence, and has not been released again or discharged, shall be treated as serving the sentence.

(3) In relation to a person who has served a previous sentence of imprisonment for a term of not less than six months, or a previous sentence of borstal training, subsection (1) of this section shall have effect as if for the reference to three years there were substituted a reference to eighteen months; and for the purpose of this subsection a person sentenced to borstal training shall be treated as having served the sentence if he has been released subject to supervision, whether or not he has subsequently been recalled or returned to a borstal institution.

(4) The foregoing provisions of this section, so far as they affect the passing of consecutive sentences by magistrates' courts, shall have effect notwithstanding anything in section one hundred and eight of the Magistrates' Courts Act, 1952 (which authorises such courts in specified circumstances to impose consecutive sentences of imprisonment totalling more than six months).

(5) Her Majesty may by Order in Council direct that paragraph (a ) of subsection (1) of this section shall be repealed, either generally or so far as it relates to persons, or male or female persons, of any age described in the Order:

Provided that—

(a ) an Order in Council shall not be made under this subsection unless the Secretary of State is satisfied that sufficient accommodation is available in detention centres for the numbers of offenders for whom such accommodation is likely to be required in consequence of the Order;

(b ) no recommendation shall be made to Her Majesty in Council to make an Order under this subsection unless a draft of the Order has been laid before Parliament and has been approved by resolution of each House of Parliament.

Detention Centre and Remand Home

Detention Centre and Remand Home

S-4 Detention of offenders aged 14 to 20.

4 Detention of offenders aged 14 to 20.

(1) In any case where a court has power, or would have power but for the statutory restrictions upon the imprisonment of young offenders, to pass sentence of imprisonment on an offender under twenty-one but not less than fourteen years of age, the court may, subject to the provisions of this section, order him to be detained in a detention centre.

(2) An order for the detention of an offender under this section may be made for the following term, that is to say—

(a ) where the offender has attained the age of seventeen or is convicted before a court of assize or of quarter sessions, and the maximum term of imprisonment for which the court could (or could but for any such restriction) pass sentence in his case exceeds three months, any term of not less than three nor more than six months;

(b ) in any other case, a term of three months.

(3) An order under this section shall not be made in respect of any person unless the court has been notified by the Secretary of State that a detention centre is available for the reception from that court of persons of his class or description, or an Order in Council under subsection (5) of section three of this Act is in force in respect of persons of his age and sex.

(4) An order under this section shall not be made in respect of a person who is serving or has served a sentence of imprisonment for a term of not less than six months or a sentence of borstal training unless it appears to the court that there are special circumstances (whether relating to the offence or to the offender) which warrant the making of such an order in his case; and before making such an order in respect of such an offender the court shall—

(a ) in any case, consider any report made in respect of him by or on behalf of the Prison Commissioners,

(b ) if the court is a magistrates' court and has not received any such report, adjourn the hearing under subsection (3) of section fourteen of the Magistrates' Courts Act, 1952, and remand the offender in custody to enable such a report to be made;

and section thirty-seven of this Act shall apply accordingly.

S-5 Detention of defaulters aged 14 to 16.

5 Detention of defaulters aged 14 to 16.

(1) In any case where a court has power, or would have power but for the statutory restrictions upon the imprisonment of young offenders, to commit to prison for any default a person under seventeen but not less than fourteen years of age, the court may, subject to the provisions of this section, commit him to a detention centre or to a remand home for any term not exceeding the term for which he could but for any such restriction have been committed to prison.

(2) Except as provided by the following provisions of this Part of this Act, a person shall not be committed under this section to a detention centre—

(a ) for a term of one month or less; or

(b ) for any term exceeding six months,

and shall not be committed thereunder to a remand home for a term exceeding one month.

(3) Subsection (3) of section four of this Act shall apply in relation to the...

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