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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.

Further Information:

Structured Deferred Sentences is a pre-sentence option to all Sheriff and High Courts for those individuals appearing at Court who are ordinarily resident in Midlothian. Interventions will be person centered and will specifically address the risk and needs that have impacted on their offending behaviour. Substance Use Service will be used for those individuals who have reported issues related to alcohol and or illicit drug use. Interventions will include harm reduction and relapse prevention, community detox, assessment for residential treatment, substitute prescribing and advice and support to individuals and their families. CGL predominantly work with those with current or previous substance misuse, who are involved in the justice system.Both services offer psychosocial substance misuse support, harm reduction advice and support to address offending behaviour, can support individuals to make meaningful use of their time and can provide emotional and practical support as well as supporting individuals to link in with other services. Venture Trust work with those involved in the justice system to read their potential though a range of interventions including outdoor learning programmes and structured one to one intervention to enhance lifeskills, employability and healthy relationships. Men can be referred to STRIDE and Women referred to Spring.