This page details the range of alternatives to custody that are available to the courts and which enable the young person to remain in their community.
Allows the young person time to demonstrate good behaviour or voluntarily engage with services prior to determining sentence.
Structured deferred sentence
- Requires the young person to engage with interventions that address the causes of their offending behaviour
- Engagement with these interventions will inform the court’s decision on the eventual sentence
- Duration – generally three to six months
Fine or compensation order
The young person must pay compensation or a fine.
Drug Treatment and Testing Order
- The Drug Treatment and Testing Order (DTTO) requires compliance with an intensive drug treatment and testing programme
- Progress is regularly reviewed by the court
- The DTTO will specify at least one treatment provider and how compliance is to be tested
- It may include group work programmes
- It will almost certainly include provisions for social care, after care and support
- A remote monitoring condition may require that the person remain at or away from a certain place at specified hours
- A DTTO may be served on a person over 16 who is ‘dependant on or has propensity to misuse drugs, and the dependency or propensity requires and may be susceptible to treatment, and the offender is a suitable person to be subject to an order’ (as detailed in sections 89-95 Crime and Disorder Act 1998); where electronic monitoring can be used (section 47 Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003)
- The young person must consent to the order being made
Six months to three years.
- Committal of a further offence or failure to attend testing or treatment do not automatically constitute a breach of the DTTO
- Failure to attend court for reviews or attempts to interfere with the integrity of tests do constitute breaches of the DTTO
- Information on breach proceedings can be found in DTTOs Guidance 2011
Community Payback Order
Under section 14 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 a Community Payback Order (CPO) may impose one or more of the following requirements:
- Offender supervision
- Unpaid work or other activity
- Level 1: 20–100 hours within 3 months
- Level 2: 101–300 hours within 6 months
- Programme requirement (individual or group work)
- Residence requirement (specifies where the person is to reside or places they may not visit)
- Mental health treatment (distinct from mental health orders)
- Drug treatment (distinct from a DTTO)
- Alcohol treatment
- Conduct (person must refrain from certain actions)
- Minimum age is 12 (see committal of an offence for information on age of criminal responsibility and prosecution)
- Unpaid work requirement: minimum age 16
- For under 18s an offender supervision requirement must be part of the CPO
- The young person must consent to the order and each of the requirements
- The CPO can be imposed alongside another order
Six months to three years.
- The supervising officer will meet with the person within five working days of the order being imposed
- Unpaid work or other activity requirements should commence within seven working days
Breaches and compliance
- Complying with a CPO is extremely important
- Information on breach proceedings can be found in CPO Practice Guidance 2010
Remittal to Children’s Hearings System (CHS) for disposal
Should a judge or sheriff decide to remit a case back to the CHS for disposal possible outcomes include:
- Discharge of the case – no further action
- Interim Compulsory Supervision Order (section 86 Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011)
- Compulsory Supervision Order (section 83 Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011) which can include a Movement Restriction Condition, requiring the young person to remain at a specified location for up to 12 hours per day, monitored by an electronic tag
National Outcomes and Standards for Social Work Services in the Criminal Justice System 2010
These standards provide a framework for criminal justice social work practice, including guidance on:
- Responsibilities of case managers
- Immediacy and intensity of contact
- Managing compliance
- Principles that should underpin interventions
Third Sector organisations
The support services offered as alternatives to custody may be provided by third sector organisations. These organisations may also be involved in providing court reports.
Resources for this page
- Crime and Disorder Act 1998
- Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003
- Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010
- Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011
- Community Justice Authorities (CJAs). (2015). Framework for the support of families affected by the Criminal Justice System. Scotland: CJAs.
- Robinson, G., and McNeill, F., (2008) Exploring the dynamics of compliance with community penalties. Theoretical Criminology 12 (4): 431-449.
- Sapouna, M., Bisset, C., Conlong, A. and Matthews, B. (2015). What Works to Reduce Reoffending: A Summary of the Evidence. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.
- Scottish Government. (2010). National Outcomes and Standards for Social Work Services in the Criminal Justice System Criminal: Justice Social Work Reports and Court-Based Services Practice Guidance. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.
- Scottish Government. (2010). National Outcomes and Standards for Social Work Services in the Criminal Justice System: Community Payback Orders Practice Guidance. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.
- Scottish Government. (2010). National Outcomes and Standards for Social Work Services in the Criminal Justice System. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.
- Scottish Government. (2011). Drug Treatment and Testing Orders Guidance for Schemes. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.
- Scottish Government. (2014). Intensive Support and Monitoring System: Guidance on the use of Movement Restriction Conditions (MRCs) in the Children’s Hearings System (CHS). Edinburgh: Scottish Government.
- Scottish Government. (2015). Evaluation of Community Payback Orders, Criminal Justice Social Work Reports and the Presumption Against Short Sentences. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.
- Ugwudike, P. and Raynor, P. (eds). (2013). What works in offender compliance: International perspectives and evidence-based practice. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Weaver, B. and Barry, M. (2014). Managing High risk Offenders in the Community: Compliance, Cooperation and Consent in a Culture of Concern. European Journal of Probation 6 (3): 278–295.