Extended Sentence

Extended Sentence


An extended sentence is comprised of two parts : a ‘normal’ prison sentence, and an extended period of time on licence. It can only be imposed for certain, generally more serious, sentences.

More specifically:

An extended sentence can only be imposed if someone has been convicted of a ‘specified offence’ (one that is listed in Schedule 15 Criminal Justice Act 2003). These are offences that are relatively serious, and of a violent or sexual nature.

Before one can be imposed, a judge has to rule out a life sentence or IPP (if it could be imposed).

If a judge thinks that, due to the nature of the offence and the sort of person you are, you present a danger to the public (in that you present a significant risk of serious harm) and that the public needs extra protection, but an IPP is unnecessary, then an extended sentence can be imposed (but does not have to be).

But this can only be imposed if :

(a)   You have been convicted previously of a Serious Specified Offence (an offence listed in Schedule 15A). These are the more serious offences, OR

(b)   The Judge would impose a sentence of at least 4 years imprisonment.

If the maximum sentence available is a fixed term (ie, not life imprisonment), then the total sentence cannot exceed the maximum.

The extension period cannot be more than five years for a violent offence, or eight years for a sexual offence.

The minimum ‘normal’ part of the sentence is 12 months. If a judge imposes an Extended Sentence and would otherwise have given a ‘normal’ sentence of under 12 months, he has to give a 12-month sentence (plus the extension period). There is no minimum period of extension.

An important thing to note is that for someone serving an extended sentence, they have to go before the parole board and get their approval before being released.

Lyndon is the General Editor of Current Sentencing Practice and the Criminal Appeal Reports (Sentencing)


  1. Can you clarify for me at all.

    Extended Sentences were available to judges for sentencing prior to the Criminal Justice Act 2003. Could you tell me what legislation these extended sentences were given under as I have a query about a sentence and subsequent consequences of that sentence which was given in December 2003 (before the Criminal Justice Act came into force if I am correct).

    Thank you.

  2. If someone has received a prison sentence of 8 years and an extended licence of 6 years, will they be automatically released after 4 years.?

    • It depends what sort of extended sentence you are talking about. This post deals with the old style extended sentences.

      As the post says, the maximum sentence is limited to the maximum for the offence – for sexual assault that is 10 years.

  3. If sumone gets a nine year extended sentance but must do at least 5year 4 month thats when they go up for parole I think thats right