Justice Social Work Statistics in Scotland: 2021-22

This publication presents national-level information on justice social work activity in Scotland. It includes data on justice social work services and social work orders, as well as characteristics of the individuals involved.

This document is part of a collection

2 Background

2.1 The name of this publication has been changed from 'Criminal Justice Social Work Statistics' to 'Justice Social Work Statistics'. This change has been made as the term justice social work is now the one consistently used across the justice system for social work provided within it. This is only a change of name and does not affect comparability with the data published under the previous name.

2.2 Significant public health measures relating to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, including two national lockdowns, were in place during the 2020-21 and 2021-22 recording years. For example, the temporary closure of many courts early in 2020-21, as well as reduced capacity when courts reopened, mean that statistics for most areas of justice social work are lower than in previous years. Caution is advised in comparing 2020-21 and 2021-22 data with that from earlier years.

2.3 The data quoted in the text of this publication is rounded. The tables published alongside contain unrounded data. More information is available in section 9.

2.4 Local authority justice social work teams provide a range of services, including:

  • assessments and reports to assist decisions on sentencing
  • court services to assist those attending court
  • bail information and supervision services as an alternative to custodial remand
  • supervising people on social work orders to tackle offending behaviour
  • supervising people who need to perform unpaid, useful work for the benefit of the community
  • prison-based social work services to those serving custodial sentences
  • 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
  • some support to those who have experienced crime and their families.

2.5 The data presented in this publication comes from justice social work management information systems for each of Scotland's local authorities. Further information on the collection and processing of the data is in Annex A.

2.6 The structure of this report reflects the main stages at which there is social work involvement in the justice system. This starts with diversion from prosecution and court based services. It then goes through to the implementation of social work orders and structured deferred sentences, followed by the supervision and support for those serving prison sentences before and after release. The following sections describe some key orders and services, and further definitions are in Annex B.

2.7 Most of the time series tables which accompany this publication are for the past five years. This is normally long enough to illustrate current trends. However, we also publish some additional datasets which provide national and local authority data from 2004-05. The numbers in these additional tables as well as the Scotland level tables published alongside this publication are given unrounded, but are rounded for presentational purposes in this text.


Email: justice_analysts@gov.scot

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