Understanding the Time Gap Between a Guilty Verdict and Prison Sentencing

Prison Info

In the United Kingdom, the legal system can appear complex, particularly if you or a loved one are caught in its midst. One key aspect that often confuses people is the time gap that occurs between a guilty verdict and the sentencing itself. This period can be a stressful time fraught with uncertainty. This article aims to shed light on this process, offering insight and understanding.

Why is there a Time Gap?

The short answer is the need for fairness and thoroughness. When a guilty verdict is reached, it doesn’t immediately decide the sentence. The court needs adequate time to make a fair judgement about the sentence. This involves taking into consideration a plethora of factors like previous convictions, the nature and severity of the crime, the defendant’s personal circumstances and more.

The Pre-Sentence Report

Central to this process is the Probation Service’s compilation of a Pre-Sentence Report (PSR). This report details the offender’s background, the circumstances of the offence, and outlines any risk factors. It also offers suggested sentencing options. The court uses this to inform its final decision, in the interests of justice.

The Sentencing Hearing

The sentencing hearing is different from the trial. During this hearing, character references may be read, mitigating factors discussed and the findings of the PSR are considered. The victim may have a chance to give a Victim Personal Statement, shedding light on the crime’s impact on them. The court weighs all these factors to reach a fair and proportionate sentence.

Typical Time Gap Duration

The time gap varies based on several factors, including the nature of the offence and the caseload the specific court is dealing with. Thus, there is no hard or fast rule. However, it’s usually between two weeks to two months.

Useful Tips During the Time Gap

  1. Your Legal Rights: Even if you’ve been convicted, you still have legal rights. Always confer with your legal team if you’re unsure about anything.
  2. Emotional Support: This time can be challenging emotionally. Seek support from family, friends or counselling services.
  3. Prepare for the Outcome: Use this time to prepare both mentally and practically for possible outcomes, especially if custody is likely.


Following sentencing, there may be grounds for an appeal, either against the conviction or the sentence. If you feel the sentence doesn’t reflect the crime’s nature, consult your legal team about appealing.


Understanding the time gap between a guilty verdict and the sentence helps manage expectations. It’s important to remember that the justice system aims to ensure a fair outcome, even if it takes time. It’s our hope that this shed light on why it’s necessary and what it entails.

Getting Support

The Citizens Advice Bureau and various not-for-profit organisations like The Prisoners’ Families Helpline offer advice and support to individuals and families impacted by the criminal justice system. You don’t have to navigate this journey alone.

What is the cheapest way to call from Prison?

It is by far cheaper to call landline numbers - however landlines are becoming less common in homes & it is by far more convenient to call your loved ones mobile incase you are calling when they aren't at home. Our call packages gives you the best of both worlds - landline call pricing, but the prisoner can call you on your mobile!

Is it cheaper to call a landline from prison?

Most definitely - YES! Mobiles can cost over 25p per minute, the precious phone credit runs out very fast! Our unlimited prison calls package saves money whilst adding the convenience of being able to pickup calls on your mobile.
© PRISON INFO. All rights reserved.