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C2 Programme

C2 - Choices and Consequences

 

What is the C2 Programme?

 

It is the first of its kind in the country. It aims to offer prolific criminals a realistic opportunity to break free from the cycle of crime for the long term, and a result reducing the number of victims of crime in the county.

 

Launched in April 2007, the Choices and Consequences (C2) programme is supported by: All partner agencies in the Criminal Justice system. Working closely with the Hertfordshire Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Hertfordshire Constabulary officers identify suitable candidates, who must demonstrate their desire to rehabilitate by admitting all past offences. They are then assessed by the Probation Service. Ultimately, the courts decide and, if suitable their sentence is deferred for up to six months whilst they undertake an extensive rehabilitation regime that may include drug treatment, life skills training, education and employment.

 

Who is the programme aimed at?


It is aimed at the county’s most prolific offenders, who have committed a large number of criminal offences and most probably have some form of addiction that has driven the offending.

 

The offenders must be over 18 and impact heavily on the county by the nature of their crimes. It is not aimed at people who have committed violent offences.

 

What happens on the programme?


The programme is aimed at those people who are genuine about wanting to rehabilitate. It is not an easy option and the offenders spend their days attending drug treatment, undertaking; motivational work, drug tests, supervision with probation officers and voluntary work. Unpaid work is part of the community order and there is a strong emphasis on education and training to give the offenders a sustainable way of earning a living.

 

Any sentence C2 candidates may have received had they not been on the C2 programme is deferred for a period set by the courts, and they must stay away from offending and deal with any addiction for a period of up to three years - if they don't, they will be brought back before the court to be re-sentenced.

 

More about C2...

The innovative C2 programme has been operating since April 2007, when it began with funding from the Rank Foundation. There has been much interest nationally, but replication has only been allowed in neighbouring Bedfordshire. The intention of the programme is to break the cycle of re-offending by targeting prolific criminals and offenders who have a genuine desire to break free from a life of crime. It is a multi-agency partnership in which Hertfordshire Constabulary works alongside Hertfordshire Probation Trust and other Criminal Justice agencies plus voluntary and private sector organisations.

 

A unique aspect of the C2 programme is the advance agreement of a crown court judge to consider a structured community based sentence for prolific offenders who would otherwise be sentenced to imprisonment. That agreement was provided by His Honour Judge Baker QC with the consent of the Senior Presiding Judge. The judge is the ultimate decision-maker in terms of who is accepted onto the project, however the agreement allows for the police to prompt offenders to choose to desist from crime at an early stage of the justice cycle. Eligible offenders, those who show a real desire to change, are initially remanded in custody before being released within a structured sentencing framework, consisting of a period on bail, a six month deferral of sentence followed by a three year community sentence.


One aspect of the C2 programme is that, as a sign of their commitment to change, offenders admit to the entirety of their past offending, generally many hundreds of offences, something that the offenders themselves say is an important part of their change. At any stage of the programme, which is almost four years in length, the offender is at risk of being sentenced for that offending if they regress and return to offending.


Each individual’s sentence plan is tailored to their individual requirements. It’s not a one size fits all. The sentence plan can include drugs treatment, education and training programmes, work and volunteer placements, compliance with probation , punitive elements, reparation and many other factors. It is very clear that this is not a soft option and requires genuine commitment from the offender for a considerable period of time. The help and support, that offenders say they require, is provided by the police and probation team throughout this period of time.


An indicator that many offenders want to desist from offending is that quite a number have voluntarily sought the help entirely voluntarily despite the fact that they have been required to admit their offending and face the risk of custodial sentences. For them, the offer of practical help is what they know they need to enable them to change.


Such offenders have committed a high volume of offences and therefore it has been important to provide additional information to the victims of those crimes. This is done verbally wherever possible and includes, where it is wanted, an update as to the offenders’ progress. The vast majority of victims support a rehabilitative programme over a sentence that is merely punitive.

 

GPS Tracker

 

Whilst on-going supervision of offenders, including drug testing, provides some level of confidence in their changed behaviour. Their previous history has shown that they have committed many hundreds of offences without being detected by the police and that even a high level of supervision cannot prevent them returning to offending nor can it identify when they have. When it is considered that there offending rate is in excess of 112 offences of burglary and vehicle crime per offender per year, managing that risk is very important.


For that reason an additional element, the use of GPS enabled Trackers was introduced to the C2 programme in 2011. Being able to track offenders 24/7 provides the opportunity to demonstrate offender change, in terms at not being at the location of reported offences and thereby providing additional confidence and support to the approach of the C2 programme.


Whilst that is one benefit of its use, the very fact that it is used, is a support to each offenders’ rehabilitation. That support has many angles, there is the direct impact on their motivation not to offend, because they would be caught, through to not having their rehabilitation disrupted by activity, such as an arrest for the type of offending they used to commit, when it can be shown they were elsewhere. Maintaining a level of confidence is crucial in rehabilitation and proof of location has a widespread and positive impact.


Practice has shown that there is a much wider impact, the willingness of an offender to be tracked is in itself an indicator of their motivation to change. Its use within the C2 programme began with offenders wearing the devices voluntarily. Using it to select those on whom scarce resources and interventions are to be used provides the possibility for increasing positive outcomes without increased expenditure.


Practice has shown that as an efficiency measure, the use of the devices not only increases rehabilitation, it can create efficiencies whilst doing so. There are the obvious such as avoiding the unnecessary arrests, reducing investigations of prolific offenders when they are not offending but also there is the practical simplicity of some decision making, with the introduction of known facts into those considerations rather than summising what may have occurred.


Where control is required or preferable, that control can be targeted to the individual, by location or timing and the fact that it is enforceable and known to be so by the offender helps achieve the desired outcome.


Whilst its use in this setting is rehabilitative, it is recognised that some offenders will be unable to maintain their desistance and will offend. Identifying such offending swiftly is important to its overall use and the detection of crime through it will sometimes be a necessary consequence.

 

Download Adobe PDF Document To download the C2 Victim Support leaflet, please click here.

 

Download Adobe PDF Document To download the C2 Offenders leaflet, please click here.