Information for Sentencers

Probation Works, the Sentencer Newsletter from the Probation Board for Northern Ireland. Issue 9, July 2021

“Probation Works” Issue 9 – click here to find out more 

Read previous “Probation Works” editions

Magistrates and Judges are integral to the work carried out by PBNI, and are one of our main stakeholders.  PBNI complete over 10,000 reports each year. These  Pre-Sentence reports assist sentencers by providing information, including offence analysis and risk assessment, to assist the court in making the most appropriate sentencing decision.

Presiding District Judge for Northern Ireland, Fiona Bagnall: “It is fair to say that all judges and magistrates, whether in the Crown Court or Magistrates’ Court, value the contribution of the probation service in providing information about offenders: his or her life setting, the risks he or she poses and what possible options are available to deal with the defendant in the community where such an option is appropriate.”

Ensuring that court orders are successfully implemented and rigorously enforced is one of our key objectives.

Outside of Laganside courts Probation staff attend court on designated days to present breaches or in respect of defendants assessed as Risk of Serious Harm.  Information regarding outcomes and requests are conveyed to PBNI electronically. Pre-sentence reports are also conveyed to NICTS electronically for the attention of relevant sentencers.

PBNI meet regularly with NICTS staff to review and refine service delivery to the courts.

Programmes and Interventions
PBNI have developed a booklet that outlines programme and intervention requirements, assessment criteria and factors to be taken into account when considering a programme or intervention. The booklet can be downloaded below:

Guide to Group Work Programmes and Individual Interventions 2021 cover

Guide to Group Work Programmes & Individual Interventions (PDF)

Benefit of Community Service
Community Service is one of the most successful court sentences in terms of preventing re-offending. It benefits the Community and helps offenders to change their lives for safer communities.

More information and additional links

If you have any enquiries please contact Assistant Director Stephen Hamilton on