What Is A DTO Police?

A DTO, which stands for Detention and Training Order, is a unique custodial sentence given to young people between the ages of 12-17 who have committed serious or repeated criminal offenses. But what exactly does a DTO entail? Let’s break it down.

Defining a Detention and Training Order

A DTO aims to both punish and rehabilitate young offenders through a blended sentence – part of which is served in detention, and part under community supervision. The goal is to intervene in the lives of these youths to set them on a better path and equip them with skills to lead a crime-free life.

Who Receives a DTO?

DTOs target young people who fit a specific profile – those aged 12-17 who have carried out alarming offenses or display a pattern of persistent reoffending. These youths require intensive support that a simple community or custodial sentence cannot provide.

Length of a DTO Sentence

A DTO sentence can last anywhere from 4 months up to 2 years. The Court determines the length based on factors like the severity of the crime, injury to victims, loss incurred, and prior offenses.

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Breakdown of a DTO Sentence

Let’s look at what a DTO sentence actually entails:

Time in Detention

A young person given a DTO will serve half their sentence in custody at a Detention and Training Centre (DTC). Those aged 12-14 go to a Secure Training Centre while older offenders aged 15-17 are placed in a Young Offenders Institution.

Time Under Community Supervision

The second half of the sentence occurs under close supervision of the community-based Youth Offending Team. The focus here is on rehabilitation through training programs tailored to the youth’s needs.

The Goals of a DTO Sentence

There are two key objectives behind issuing a DTO:

Punishment Aspect

The time spent in detention serves as punishment for the gravity of offenses committed. It also keeps the youth separate from society during that period.

Rehabilitation Aspect

Equal focus is given to rehabilitating these young people and equipping them with skills for a better future. The dual sentence structure allows for both punishment and training.

The Court’s Role in DTO Sentencing

When determining suitability for a DTO, the Court considers several factors:

Considering Aggravating and Mitigating Factors

The severity and scale of the offense(s), injury/loss caused, and prior warnings/sentences given provide insight into what sentence – including DTO eligibility – may be fitting.

Non-Negotiable Detention Time

While aggravating/mitigating factors impact the overall DTO length set by the Court, the actual time to be served in detention cannot be reduced. It is non-negotiable.

Appeals and Compliance

Two important aspects relating to DTOs are appeals and compliance:

The Right to Appeal a DTO

Every young person sentenced to a DTO can appeal their sentence within 21 days. This could lead to the sentence being upheld, increased, decreased, or substituted.

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Consequences for Non-Compliance

Once conditionally released, failure to comply with appointments or changes in residence may result in fines or time in custody. Reoffending during this period also carries consequences.

Life During and After a DTO

Let’s explore what a DTO entails in detention and after:

Rehabilitative Programs in Detention

Besides confinement, youth undergo educational and behavioral programs.

Education Programs

Cover core skills like mathematics, computer literacy, job readiness training etc. to improve future prospects.

Behavioral Programs

Aim at developing life skills like anger management, family relationship building, understanding impact of crime etc.

Ongoing Support After Release

Youth meet regularly with case workers who help them achieve training goals and ensure community integration. But non-compliance carries consequences.

Dealing with Reoffending

Reoffending during community supervision means the remainder of the sentence could be served in detention. It may also lead to additional sentencing for the new crime.

In summary, DTOs take a holistic approach to juvenile justice – blending punishment with individualized support and rehabilitation programming. The aim? Put young offenders on a better life path and equip them to build a crime-free future.

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