Supervised Bail in Scotland: Research on Use and Impact

This report outlines findings on the use and impact of supervised bail in Scotland from a research project which included analysis of operational data, economic analysis, a workshop with bail workers, surveys of the judiciary and Procurators Fiscal, and interviews with people who have been on supervised bail.

5 Meeting structure and content

5.1 There is some flexibility as to the frequency, duration, and location of supervised bail meetings. It was found in the interviews with bailees that most began by meeting their bail workers two to three times a week, usually at the bail worker's offices, with some holding one of these meetings in the bailee's home. For some bailees this was seen as non-negotiable, and this frequency of meetings was maintained throughout their bail order.

5.2 However, some bailees described a change to the frequency or location of their meetings, such as a reduction to two or one meetings a week, or a movement of location to the bailee's home, or even a shift to having meetings over the phone. There were two possible reasons for this change. For some, it was due to change in their own availability, for example, if they had started a new job. Clearly, this flexibility ensured that supervised bail did not restrict bailee's opportunities to develop non-criminal identities through employment or education11 .

5.3 Meeting frequency and location was also changed for some bailees interviewed as a reward for good attendance and behaviour. These bailees talked with a real sense of pride at achieving such a reward, and this seemed in turn to encourage compliance with the order through a positive focus on achievements rather than a preoccupation with the crime they were accused of.

5.4 The length of these meetings ranged between bailees from 5 minutes to up to and over an hour, and some reported that their meetings lasted a set amount of time, for example 15 minutes. In this time bailees said that they talked to their bail worker about their behaviour, their lives and their problems, and some described taking surveys for their bail worker. Some said they received help and support from their bail worker, while others said they did not need or want to talk or receive any help. Some were sign-posted on to other services such as bereavement counselling or employment support services.

5.5 The length of meetings seemed to vary in part due to the level of engagement of the bailee: those with the shortest meetings tended to be those who said they did not need to talk. There were also other factors, such as how busy the bail worker seemed to be or the bailee was, and one bailee said that the meetings tended to be short because they always coincided with their children coming home from school.


Email: Carole Wilson

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