[n. rep-ruh-mand, -mahnd; v. rep-ruh-mand, -mahnd, rep-ruh-mand, -mahnd]
A reprimand is a severe, formal or official reproof. Reprimanding takes in different forms in different legal systems, such as in UK law and American law.


In the UK, anybody between the ages of 10 and 18 years can receive a reprimand. It is a formal verbal warning given by a police officer to a young person who admits they are guilty of a minor first offence. To receive a reprimand, the young person must have admitted the offence and shown that they are sorry for the harm that have been caused.

The police will pass on the details to the local Youth Offending Team (YOT) who may contact the young person's parents or carers by phone and have a chat about the young person, their family and the events that led up to the reprimand.

Sometimes the young person can be referred to the youth offending team (YOT) to take part in a voluntary programme to help them address their offending behaviour.

Once the young person have been bailed from the Police Station, they will have been given a date and a time to return to a "Restorative Justice Clinic" (RJ Clinic) to receive your Reprimand or Final Warning from a specially trained officer. The purpose of this is to discuss what happened, why it happened and also to find out how you can repair any harm that has been caused.

The RJ Clinic usually takes place at the local Police Station. The parents or carers will also be expected to attend.

The young person do not have to accept advice or YOT assistance. Any activity or assistance offered by the YOT is voluntary.

If the young person break the law again, they will more than likely be sent to the Youth Court. This can lead to them being found guilty and sentenced.

Reprimands and Final Warnings are a statutory disposal, created by sections 65-66 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 to replace cautions for offenders aged 17 and under. Guidance on the scheme is available for Police and Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) through joint Home Office/Youth Justice Board guidance published in November 2002.

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