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Structured Deferred Sentence


Local Authority area:


Primary Courts of relevance:

Kirkcaldy, Dunfermline and Dundee

All information provided by:

Fife Community Justice Partnership

Fife Community Justice Information

Published: 15 November 2022

The information on this page has been provided by Community Justice Partnerships. Community Justice Scotland is not responsible for the accuracy of the information and is unable to respond to direct queries. All such queries in respect of the information shown on this page should be directed to the Community Justice Partnership to which it relates.

In Spring 2022, the information will be reviewed and updated where required. Thereafter a review, and any necessary revisions, will take place three times annually.

Structured Deferred Sentence

Interventions suitable for

Anyone over the age of 16 resident in Fife

Programme title and provider

Structured deferred sentence (SDS)

Details of all Specific national or local scheme/intervention(s) available

These are available to Sheriffs where there are recognised areas for structured intervention that may lower the risk of reoffending or risk of harm.
The risks will be identified at the point of assessment and level of contact and areas to be targeted will be detailed within the Criminal Justice Social Work Report.
Structured Deferred Sentences can be used for those who present a minimal risk of re-offending or of harm, and who are identified as requiring support to address social and welfare needs that are linked to their offending. It can also be used for those who lead chaotic lifestyles due to complex issues, including substance misuse and mental health issues which impacts on their ability to desist from offending. Structured intervention which addresses key areas particular to the individual is a compulsory element of the Structured Deferred Sentence. In all cases structured intervention will include weekly contact, which can involve contact with third sector partner agencies as necessary and will be monitored by the Justice social work service.

Possible Outcomes

It is anticipated that intervention in some cases will be short term (generally three or six month deferments). A more detailed needs assessment will be undertaken in order to identify and prioritise any welfare needs. A support/action plan will be formulated which will be broken down into weekly tasks with aims and objectives. On conclusion, cases could be admonished if engagement has been good and all needs identified addressed. However, if compliance has been an issue or there remain outstanding issues the Sheriff can consider alternative disposals such as a Community Payback Order to promote desistance.

Process for Assessment and/or inclusion in scheme/intervention

An allocated Social Worker will assess and prepare the initial court report. This will include a Structured Deferred Sentence assessment. Where a structured deferred sentence is deemed appropriate, the court report will detail the areas for intervention, proposed level of contact and agencies to be involved. A 12-week deferment period would be suggested with a progress report to be made available at the completion of this period to enable the Sheriff to consider further disposal.