Justice social work

What is a Criminal Justice Social Work Report?

A Criminal Justice Social Work Report is when a court has asked for a report to be prepared about you before sentencing.

This is a report which provides information about you and your past and current offence(s).

It provides advice to the court to help it make a decision on which sentence to impose such as a fine, community sentence or imprisonment.

Where will the interview take place?

It is likely you will be asked to come into the Criminal Justice Social Work office and if necessary a further appointment may be made with you in your home or some other suitable venue. If remanded, it will occur in the prison.

Can I refuse to give information?

Yes, but you need to think about what this will mean for your case.

If the report writer does not have enough information in order to complete the report, then a letter will be sent to the court explaining the reasons why a report is not available.

What sort of information will I be asked for?

You will be asked information on:

• Your offence(s) which led to you appearing in court as well as any previous offending
• Your current circumstances such as where you live and who you live with
• Your financial circumstances such as how much money comes into your household and what bills or debts you have to pay
• Your health, such as illnesses or disabilities
• Your past involvement with the Social Work Service and the extent to which this helped you to keep out of trouble

The report writer will look at this information alongside other details available.

The interview will include a discussion with you about whether you are suitable for a community sentence, where appropriate. The Social Worker will explain what this means.

Will anyone else be asked for information for the report?

Yes, but it depends on your circumstances.

The person writing the report will discuss with you who they plan to get information from. This may be family members, your defence agent and past social work records. It may involve getting your permission, for example, to obtain information from your GP. Other people that it may be helpful to speak to may include a drug or alcohol counselling service.

Do I get to see the report? 

Yes. However, the report is not confidential. It will be seen by the Court, the Procurator Fiscal, your defence agent (if you have one) and you. It is also passed to the prison if custody is imposed.
The press are not given a copy of the report, but may report on any case which is discussed in open court.

What should I do once the report is complete?

It is important that you turn up in court on time and meet with your solicitor if necessary.

You will be sentenced at court and depending on the sentence this may include working with the Criminal Justice Social Work Service on a community sentence. If this is the case you will need to attend for interview, or begin your community sentence, either on the day you are sentenced or the following day.