Criminal justice social work reports

This information applies to offenders who are over 16.

A criminal justice social work report is an official document that’s produced by a social worker. A court will use this document to help it decide how to deal with someone at the point of sentencing.

Social workers produce criminal justice social work reports when:

  • a sheriff or judge needs more information about a person prior to sentencing
  • a person is going to prison for the first time
  • a court wants to impose a community sentence

How reports are written

Information gathering

A justice social worker will invite the individual to attend an interview.

During this interview, which usually lasts no more than 2 hours, the justice social worker will gather information about the individual. This might include details about:

  • their background
  • any previous offences they’ve committed
  • their response to previous periods of supervision, if that’s relevant
  • the offence they have been found guilty of

At the end of the interview, the justice social worker will explain the sentencing options that are available to the court.

Production of the report

After the interview, the justice social worker will produce their report. This will include:

  • information that the individual shared during their interview
  • an assessment of the risk of the person reoffending or causing harm to others
  • an outline of the sentencing options available to the court