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Northumbria Probation Area

Image: Inside a prisonspacerNational Probation Service logo


In prison and on release Image: meeting taking place in prison

Probation work in prisons

We have staff seconded to a number of prisons in the North East region. Probation staff work alongside prison staff in offender management units, contributing to the assessment and management of offenders as they progress through the custodial element of their sentence. This includes:

Release on licence

Most offenders do not serve the whole of their sentence in custody. At a set stage, they are released to serve the rest of their sentence in the community, supervised by probation staff, known as being ‘on licence’.

All offenders are assessed to determine any risk they might pose to staff, other offenders or to the public after release.

Offenders serving prison sentences under 12 months are not subject to any statutory supervision, when they are released.

All offenders sentenced to 12 months or more are usually supervised by us when they come out of prison on licence. Offenders must attend regular appointments with probation staff, complete any work that is set for them, give us information about where they live & work and comply with any other conditions of the licence. This might include restrictions on their movements and behaviour.

Probation staff can ask to include extra specific conditions in some licences, including:

Any offender who breaks the rules of their licence will be returned to prison to finish their sentence.


When offenders leave prison, the restrictions they are given depends on the risk they pose. To maintain public safety, probation staff in the community work closely with other agencies to plan for the offender’s safe return to the community and their ongoing supervision. We work to help them achieve stable, crime free lives, which can help reduce the chances of further offending when they are released. We offer practical assistance with accommodation and employment and motivate offenders to pursue their goals on release from custody.

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