The data measures the average custodial sentence length in months for offenders given an immediate custodial sentence by a court.
The data is broken down by ethnicity, age, gender and type of offence (‘offence group’).
Figures are based on the length of immediate custodial sentences given in court, not the length served by the offender.
The data doesn’t include life sentences or other custodial sentences where there is no set end date (known as ‘indeterminate sentences’).
There are three broad types of offence:
- indictable-only offences, such as murder, rape or robbery, which can only be heard in the Crown Court
- offences that are triable either way, which means they can be heard in either a magistrates’ court or in the Crown Court, and include offences like theft from shops and handling stolen goods
- summary offences, such as speeding and TV licence evasion, which are heard in a magistrates’ court
This data only measures indictable-only offences and offences that are triable either way (also called ‘either way’ offences).
Different offences within the same offence group often carry different sentence lengths – for example, murder and grievous bodily harm are both classified as ‘violence against the person’.
Offenders are classified by age group as follows:
- juveniles are aged under 18 years
- young adults are aged between 18 and 20 years
- adults are aged 21 years and over