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Structured Deferred Sentences

Why you have been made subject to a SDS

You have been given a Structured Deferred Sentence (SDS) because you have been found or have pled guilty of a crime. Your worker thought extra assistance might help. We hope that we can help you make some changes that will help you to stay safe.

What is SDS and what will it involve?

SDS is a programme addressing offending behaviour and promotes social inclusion for young people aged 16-21 who have been involved in offending. SDS lasts from the time you are convicted of an offence and the period of time on SDS will be decided by the Sheriff (normally between three and six months). If you do well during your SDS, it can reduce the final sentence or disposal that you are given. If you decide not to take a SDS, a Sheriff will sentence you using other options.

How to access SDS

Your lawyer or social worker may suggest to the court that SDS could be a suitable option for you. This could include you attending for an interview for the completion of a Criminal Justice Social Work Report to ascertain your suitability for SDS. The final decision of your suitability will be made by the sentencing Sheriff.

What you need if you are on a SDS

While on SDS you need to show that you are motivated and want to stop offending and are willing to use help to make changes. You can do this by attending:

  • court for reviews of your SDS
  • all the support sessions provided
  • any sessions you are given with a social worker (this may be at your home)

What can you expect from being involved with SDS

You will be provided with social work supports and a range of services that may help. Areas that may require to be worked on during SDS are as follows :

  • drugs or alcohol
  • mental health difficulties
  • employment or further education
  • difficult relationships with family and friends
  • at risk of becoming involved in further offending
  • homelessness or at risk of homelessness

What kind of support will you get?

You will be involved in developing your own action plan to address and change your lifestyle as part of SDS. You will be provided with social work support at least twice a week. You will also be provided with group work and/or individual sessions from social work and other agencies that we work with. Partner agencies are services that can help you with issues like alcohol or drug issues, training, employment and housing. Some of your individual information could be shared with these agencies.


Structured Deferred Sentence Team

Phone: 01698 894152