Community Sentences

Bail Supervision

Bail Supervision is a direct alternative to being remanded in custody and is designed to reduce the risk of offending while on bail.

What does the service offer?

Bail Supervision Service works to prevent unnecessary custodial remands and re-offending on bail by providing supervision, monitoring and support (including tagging in some areas). These services provide courts with an effective alternative to remand, allowing the accused to remain in the community and continue having access to services.

How does the service work?

If Bail Supervision is granted, the accused will sign a Bail Supervision agreement and must conform to the conditions of bail until they are removed by the Sheriff. Bail conditions must be strictly adhered to and will include regular appointments with Justice Social workers and sometimes other services. Appointments can be up to 3 times per week, and consist of office appointments, telephone appointments and home visits.

Failure to comply with the conditions of bail (and the signed agreement) will result in breach of bail proceedings.

Who is the service aimed at?

The service is available to the Court as an alternative to custody for accused persons.

How is the service accessed?

Referrals to the scheme can be made by Sheriffs, Procurators Fiscal, defence agents and social workers. The Justice Social Work department will interview the accused and assess their suitability for the service. The Court makes the final decision as to whether Bail Supervision will be granted.

Bailed Supervision Flowchart

Unpaid Work

Unpaid work (and other activities) can be imposed as part of a Community Payback Order. The number of hours can range from 20 - 100 hours (Level 1) or 101 - 300 hours (Level 2).

A Level 1 Order should be completed within three months and a Level 2 Order within six months, unless otherwise directed by the Sheriff. Unpaid Work must begin within 7 days of the order being imposed.

Community Payback Orders allow for 30% or a maximum of 30 hours of the unpaid work hours to be classed as other activities, to be used for therapeutic, groupwork or vocational learning.

There is a statutory responsibility on councils to consult with 'prescribed persons' such as the Chief Constable, Sheriff Principal, voluntary organisations and community partnerships on the type of unpaid work to be done in the council area.

Unpaid work bases:

  • Annan - open 6 days per week (Monday to Thursday, Saturday and Sunday)
  • Dumfries - open 7 days per week
  • Castle Douglas - open 2 days per week (Friday and Saturday)
  • Newton Stewart - open 2 days per week (Friday and Saturday)
  • Stranraer - open 6 days per week (Monday to Thursday, Saturday and Sunday)

Unpaid work can include:

  • Environmental projects - beach cleaning/litter picking etc
  • Gardening/Horticulture - planting/growing/weeding/sowing/grass cutting
  • Restoration and redecoration - joinery workshop/outdoor refurbishments
  • Art and cooking projects
  • Personal placements - charity shops/voluntary organisations etc
  • Lighter duties groups - can be reduced daily hours or lighter activity
  • Blended Learning packs - written packs on range of subjects.
  • Online learning/training - certified courses available
  • Council placements - sports/leisure/mechanics/ground works etc

Unpaid work also gives some people the opportunity to experience working life for the first time, giving them the confidence to look for work.

Requesting support

If you are a charitable organisation, a community/voluntary group or an individual with a project that you think unpaid work could support

 Please confirm the all of the following before applying:

  • that this work will benefit the local community
  • and that this work will not take any paid work away from others
  • and that the work undertaken will not replace Dumfries & Galloway Council, private or voluntary organisation core business
  • and you are unable to complete the work on your own

Please complete our Unpaid Work request form below

Please note that it will take approximately seven days for us to respond.

Diversion from Prosecution

In Scotland, responsibility for criminal prosecution rests with the Procurator Fiscal who has discretionary powers to ensure that alleged offenders are dealt with in the most appropriate way.

Not all cases have to go to Court and the Procurator Fiscal has various methods to divert people away from Court including fiscal fines, warning letters and diversion to social work or other services.

A Social Work Diversion from Prosecution Scheme is available in Dumfries & Galloway for anyone aged 16 or over who reside in the area. Referrals are typically come from the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal in Scotland.

The aim of the scheme is to offer a Social Work Service to those referred by the Procurator Fiscal to address any issues related to their alleged offending that will help to avoid the behaviour being repeated. Some of the most common difficulties are alcohol and drug misuse, financial problems, relationship issues and mental health problems.

For Social Work to agree that a person is a suitable candidate for Diversion, the person must:

  • broadly accept the details of the charge against them
  • agree that there are problem areas in their life
  • agree to work with social work to address these difficulties

Support through Diversion usually lasts between 3-6 months. If completed successfully, the person will not have to go to Court.

However, failure to cooperate with Social Work will be reported to the Procurator Fiscal and this may lead to the case being taken to Court.

Further information

You can contact the Team on 01387 273749.

Drug Treatment and Testing Orders

Justice Services manage the Drug Treatment and Testing Orders (DTTOs) for the whole of the Dumfries & Galloway area and cover Dumfries and Stranraer Sheriff Courts. They work jointly with the NHS Specialist Drug and Alcohol Service to deliver the support provided to the individual.

Drug Treatment and Testing Orders (DTTOs) used by the Courts if someone's drug dependency problems are a significant cause of their offending.  DTTOs can range from six months to three years and are only used if the person is at risk of receiving a custodial sentence.

The emphasis of a DTTO is on drugs treatment as the main way of reducing offending behaviour.

The objectives are to:

  • reduce or stop an offender's dependency or the likelihood of misusing drugs
  • achieve positive changes in the scale of and frequency of drug related offending

The offender has to agree to:

  • treatment to tackle their drug problems
  • regular drug testing
  • frequent meetings with their social worker and substance misuse worker
  • regular review hearings by the court

Structured Deferred Sentences

What is a Structured Deferred Sentence (SDS)?

Structured Deferred Sentence (SDS) is an option that the Sheriff can consider when a person has been found guilty of an offence, but before they decide how to deal with the case.

If a person is placed on an SDS they will be supervised by a Social Work Assistant (SWA) from Justice Social Work, usually for a period of 3 to 6 months (but possibly up to 12 months).

SDS is designed to help address the causes of offending, with a view to helping the person steer clear of further charges. They will be expected to attend regular appointments with JSW, and with any other service that is identified to help meet their needs. This might include drug or alcohol counselling, employment services, or health services.

If SDS proves successful, the Sheriff may decide to admonish the case when reviewed at Court (i.e. take no further action).

What is the criteria for SDS?

SDS in Dumfries & Galloway is currently a pilot scheme.

For the pilot scheme, SDS will be offered only to females over the age of 21.

A screening form has been designed to help determine suitability

Who decides if an SDS is imposed?

Report writers will make recommendations regarding SDS

They are invited to discuss any possible cases with a SWA and/or Senior SW (Social Worker) in the Diversion and Non-Custodial Team. The reason for this is to help determine suitability and discuss an Action Plan (for cases when SDS is to be recommended).

The decision then lies with the Sheriff (whether or not to impose SDS).

What is expected from staff at Justice Social Work?

Report writers will provide the person with an information leaflet during assessment stage, talk to them about SDS, and include their views (if SDS is included as a Sentencing Option). As mentioned, they are also invited to discuss any possible cases with a SWA and/or SSW in the Diversion and Non-Custodial Team.

Social Work Assistants (SWA) will maintain regular contact with the person (minimum of weekly), either in person, on the phone, and/or through digital communication. They will also develop an action plan with the person and offer support to help them achieve their goals. Depending on the action plan, they will select office-based exercises and/or homework tasks for the person to complete. They may also signpost them to other agencies or encourage contact with existing supports.

The SWA will also complete a progress report at 3 monthly intervals and submit this to Court.

What will be expected of a person on SDS?

They will develop an action plan with their worker (SWA from JSW) and commit to the plans agreed (e.g. office-based exercises, homework exercises, engaging with other services).

What happens if a person fails to comply with SDS?

If a person is unavailable for an appointment (with JSW or any other agency included in their Action Plan), they are expected to contact the relevant worker and make alternative arrangements.

If they are absent for medical reasons, they may be asked to provide a medical certificate as evidence.

If they fail to attend on a regular basis (or fail to engage entirely), they will receive verbal and/or written reminders regarding your engagement.

Please note: while breach proceedings will not be initiated through SDS, a person's attendance will be commented on when the progress report is submitted to Court. This is likely to influence the Sheriff when deciding how to deal with the case.

What is a progress report?

The Sheriff will review the SDS case at Court on a 3 monthly basis. The SWA will prepare a report for this review, and describe the person's attendance, progress, and commitment to SDS.

The worker will also make recommendations to the Sheriff within this report (e.g. if SDS should continue or not).

When does SDS end?

The Sheriff will review SDS cases on a 3 monthly basis. The person subject to SDS will be expected to attend Court for this review.

If the Sheriff is satisfied with the progress, they may choose to take no further action (and admonish your case).

If there is a need for more support, the Sheriff may choose to extend it for another 3 months - and continue to do so until they are satisfied that SDS is no longer required. It is not expected that SDS will be offered beyond a 12-month period.

If the Sheriff is not satisfied that SDS is proving beneficial, they may turn their attention to other sentencing options.

On some occasions, SDS may indicate a need for another disposal (e.g. Supervision). If the Sheriff makes this decision, SDS would effectively end.

Page last updated: 29/06/2022
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