Custody of convicted children and young people: practice guidance

The procedures to be followed regarding children sentenced under section 205(2) or section 208 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995.


1. Scottish Ministers have a statutory responsibility for placing and managing the sentences of children under the age of 16, or those between 16 and 18 who are subject to a Compulsory Supervision Order, and who have been convicted on indictment (i.e. under solemn procedure, not summary) by the courts and sentenced to detention. Scottish Ministers also place and manage all children under 18 who are convicted of murder.

2. This document:

  • describes the legal framework;
  • sets out Scottish Government policy;
  • sets out the normal practice of the Scottish Government Youth Justice Team; and
  • gives guidance to social work departments, managers of secure units and where relevant to Governors of Young Offenders Institutions (YOI).

3. This guidance supersedes Scottish Executive Justice Department Circular 01/2005. It updates the procedures to be followed in respect of children who appear before a court and where there is a sentence imposed, or likely to be imposed, under section 205(2) or section 208 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995. This guidance does not relate to children detained under section 44 (detention of children under summary proceedings) or section 51 (remand and committal of children) where responsibility for the placement lies with local authorities.

4. The terms "child" and "children" are used throughout for ease of reference although it is recognised that those sentenced for longer periods may cease to be children before their sentence ends or may be over 16 if convicted under section 205(2).

5. This document should be read alongside the guidance produced by the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice (CYCJ) to support local areas in implementing the Whole System Approach. A Guide to Youth Justice in Scotland: policy, practice and legislation can be found on the CYCJ website.

6. Annex A outlines where responsibilities lie in relation to placement, payment and transport arrangements.




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