The Jersey Probation and After Care Service (JPACS) is represented by an officer at every Parish Hall Enquiry where children under the age of 18 years are appearing, except for very minor matters and some motoring offences.
At the Enquiry, the Centenier will speak with the young person to ascertain the circumstances of the offence. Every child must be accompanied by an adult with parental responsibility.
The purpose of the Enquiry is for the Centenier to decide:
- whether there is sufficient evidence to justify a charge;
- if so, whether it is in the public interest to prosecute or whether the matter can be dealt with in some other way at the Enquiry; and
- if the matter is to be dealt with at the Enquiry, the appropriate method of disposal.
The Centenier can only deal with the charges against someone if they are admitted. If they are not admitted, they have to be dealt with by a Court.
The Centenier has a number of options available:
The Centenier has a number of options available as reparation for the offence.
- They can issue a Written Caution, give Words of Advice or even decide that no further action is necessary. There is often an element of reparation or restoration attached including a letter of apology or compensation to a victim.
- Alternatively, the Centenier may defer the decision to a later date. This tends to be used in conjunction with other conditions such as paying compensation or writing a letter of apology. At the conclusion of the deferment period, the Centenier will either give words of advice or issue a written caution.
- The Centenier may also impose fines up to £100 for certain statutory offences.
JPACS become involved when the following sanctions are imposed:
Voluntary supervision orders
The Centenier may place young offenders under the supervision of either the Probation Service or the Alcohol and Drug Service. Upon successful completion of a supervision programme, the offender returns to the Parish Hall, usually after a three month period, where the Centenier issues a written caution as an alternative to prosecution.
However if the attendee re-offends or does not attend appointments at the relevant agency, they will be returned to the Centenier, who may choose to prosecute.
The Centenier may order the young offender to undertake work with the Restorative Justice Officer. Please click here to read more information on the Restorative Justice scheme.
Charge and bail for a Court appearance
The Centenier has the power to formally charge and bail offenders to appear before the Magistrate either in the Youth Court or the Magistrate’s Court, if charged with other offenders who are over 18.
It is important to appreciate that all the above options, except the last, are consensual, i.e. they can only be adopted with the agreement of the offender.
For more on the Parish Hall Enquiry System, please click here to read ‘The Conduct and Effectiveness of Parish Hall Enquiries’.