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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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The aim of the Right Track 16-26 programme is to engage with 16–26-year-old offenders in a six month Structured Deferred Sentence programme with the aim of stabilising their lifestyle, reducing their offending and thus mitigating a potential custodial sentence. The programme requires offenders: • To attend individual meetings with the Supervising Officer in order to discuss, identify and address their criminogenic needs • To attend and participate in Weekly Group Sessions with other young offenders, at which information from a number of partner agencies is presented. • To attend and participate in a weekly ‘Work Project’ which is aimed at preparing young people for future Unpaid Work Requirements required by the court. These projects can involve: • Graffiti Removing • Community Projects • Litter Picking • Gardening To attend timeously, behave appropriately and participate actively in the programme at all times.