2.1 Local authority criminal justice social work departments provide a range of services, including:
- assessments and reports to assist decisions on sentencing
- court services to assist those attending court whether as witnesses or accused/convicted people
- bail information and supervision services as an alternative to custodial remand
- supervising people on social work orders to tackle offending behaviour
- supervising people who are required to perform unpaid, useful work for the benefit of the community
- prison-based social work services to those serving custodial sentences and their families
- preparing reports for the Parole Board to assist decisions about release from prison
- throughcare services including parole, supervised release and other prison aftercare orders to ensure public safety
- supporting those who have experienced crime and their families.
2.2 These services are described in more detail in the National outcomes and standards for social work services in the criminal justice system: criminal justice social work reports and court services guidance and the Community payback order practice guidance.
2.3 The data presented in this bulletin is extracted from criminal justice social work management information systems. This publication includes six years of unit-level data for community payback and drug treatment and testing orders. This allows more comprehensive analysis of the implementation process and outcomes for these orders. Further information on how the data is collected and processed can be found in Annex A.
2.4 The structure of this report reflects the main stages at which social work is involved in the criminal justice system, starting with diversion from prosecution and court based services, through to implementation of social work orders and support for those serving prison sentences before and after release. Some key orders and services are described in the following sections, and further definitions can be found in Annex B.
2.5 In the interests of presentation, time series tables in this publication tend to be for the past five years as this is long enough to illustrate current trends. Data for longer time periods can be found in the additional tables on the Scottish Government's criminal justice social work datasets page. These tables also include analyses at local authority level. Numbers in this bulletin are given unrounded in the tables, but rounded for presentational purposes in the text.