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NCJ Number: 186376 Find in a Library
Title: Reporting to the Scottish Courts: The Quality of Social Enquiry Reports and Custody
Journal: International Journal of the Sociology of Law  Volume:28  Issue:1  Dated:March 2000  Pages:1-13
Author(s): Anne Creamer
Editor(s): John Carrier; Stephen Savage
Date Published: 2000
Page Count: 13
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: Social enquiry reports in Scotland provide background information on offenders to sentencing officials in order to assist them in their decision-making and represent the vehicle through which community-based sanctions are made available to the court.
Abstract: Social enquiry reports have become the focus of central government attention in Scotland as a means of reducing the use of custody, and the quality of these reports is believed to be influential in decisions on whether to impose a custodial sentence. To assess the value of social inquiry reports, a study was conducted to explore the relationship between the quality of social inquiry reports provided to a Scottish court and the use of custody. The study sample consisted of 669 respondents, and data covered the 1996-1998 period. Analysis indicated some impact of social inquiry reports on custody rates. As the quality of these reports decreased, the custody rate increased. Poor quality reports appeared to contribute to the likelihood of an offender receiving a custodial sentence. Coverage of information in social inquiry reports was important to sentencing officials, and lack of information tended to influence decision-makers away from community disposals and toward the use of custody. Study results suggest report writing skills have a significant influence on sentencing decisions. 31 references and 6 tables
Main Term(s): Foreign courts
Index Term(s): Alternatives to institutionalization; Community-based corrections (adult); Corrections in foreign countries; Foreign correctional systems; Foreign sentencing; Report writing; Scotland
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