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Structured Deferred Sentence (SDS)

Last updated: 27th June 2024


A structured deferred sentence is a flexible intervention providing structured social work support for individuals post-conviction but prior to sentencing. They can be used for people who have offended with underlying issues that might be addressed through social work and/or multi-agency intervention. At the end of the period of intervention, the court retains the discretion to pass sentence in any manner that would have been appropriate at the time of conviction, but with the benefit of information from the supervising officer in relation to the period of deferral.

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We continue to deliver Structured Deferred Sentences are an option for the Court. These are assessed at Justice Social Work Report writing stage and are generally managed by Social Work Assistants. In respect of males – our Structured Deferred Sentences are managed by our Early Intervention Services, and females are managed by our Women’ Justice Team(s). Our support packages for Structured Deferred Sentences are person centred and dependant on the needs of the individual. We also recently developed programmes of work which can be delivered as part of an SDS which include work on Health relationships and road traffic offending. Generally, an SDS would be imposed for a period of 3 months, at which time a progress report would be submitted to Court. This support can be extended for another 3 months if this is felt beneficial.