Sentencing young people

CYCJ and the Scottish Sentencing Council presented a joint webinar on January 20, ahead of the Scottish Sentencing Council’s new guideline on the sentencing of young people, which came into effect for all Scotland’s courts on January 26, 2022.

This new guideline on the sentencing of young people requires courts to have regard to rehabilitation as a primary consideration and seeks to reduce reoffending among young people. It will apply to the sentencing of those who are under the age of 25 at the date of their plea of guilty or when a finding of guilt is made against them.

This webinar gave an overview of key findings from this work, with expert speakers Dr Suzanne O’Rourke, Senior Lecturer in Forensic Clinical Psychology at the University of Edinburgh, retired Sheriff David Mackie, and Kirsty Giles, Psychotherapist, Scottish Violence Reduction Unit, discussing the factors which informed the development of the guideline. These include the development of cognitive maturity, the importance of rehabilitative approaches to sentencing, and how the impact of trauma and adversity in childhood can be addressed to reduce reoffending.

John Scott QC chaired this event, with an introduction by Fiona Dyer (Director, CYCJ).

Watch the event here.


Dr Suzanne O’Rourke, University of Edinburgh
The development of cognitive and emotional maturity in adolescents and its relevance in judicial contexts

Kirsty Giles, Scottish Violence Reduction Unit
Addressing trauma and adversity to reduce the risk of reoffending

Summary by Sheriff David Mackie

Background reading

Sentencing young people guideline

Sentencing young people consultation report

Cognitive maturity literature review

Principles and purposes of sentencing guideline

Sentencing process guideline



Download Sentencing young people - watch here

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Children's and Young People's Centre for Justice
University of Strathclyde
Lord Hope Building, Level 6
141 St. James Road Glasgow G4 0LT

(0141) 444 8622

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