The data measures the percentage of offenders sentenced to immediate custody in court, as a percentage of all offenders sentenced for ‘indictable’ offences. We refer to this in places as the ‘custody rate’. The data is broken down by ethnicity, age and gender.
There are 3 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, are heard in a magistrates’ court
This data includes sentences for indictable-only offences and offences that are triable either way. We use the term ‘indictable offence’ in this commentary to cover both types of offence.
Offenders are classified by age group:
- juveniles are under 18 years old
- young adults are between 18 and 20 years old
- adults are 21 years old and over
The data focuses mainly on offenders given an immediate custodial sentence. It also includes information on other sentences including:
- suspended sentence orders
- community sentences
- absolute or conditional discharges
- compensation orders
An extra category of sentence, ‘Otherwise dealt with’, includes offenders given less common sentences that don’t fit into these groups, such as spending one day in police cells or being given a guardianship order.