Reconviction Statistics 2017-18

Published: 06 Oct 2020 09:30

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

The latest reconviction statistics for the 2017-18 offender cohort have been published today by Scotland’s Chief Statistician. The figures show that reconvictions have decreased in the past year, continuing the general downwards trend over the past decade. Decreases in reconvictions over the past year have also been seen across most of the groupings presented in the statistical bulletin.

The reconviction rate, which is the percentage of offenders who are reconvicted in a year, was 26.3% in 2017-18, which is a one percentage point decrease from 27.3% in 2016-17. The average number of reconvictions, a measure of how often offenders are reconvicted, also decreased over the same period from 0.48 to 0.46, a decrease of 4%.

Over the longer term, in the decade between 2008-09 and 2017-18, the reconviction rate decreased by 5.2 percentage points from 31.5% to 26.3%. In the same period, the average number of reconvictions per offender decreased by 23% from 0.60 to 0.46.

As in previous years, males are reconvicted more often, on average, than females. In 2017-18, the average number of reconvictions per offender for males was 0.47, which was 12% higher than the value of 0.42 for females. Both measures of reconvictions for males and females were lower than last year. However, both measures of reconvictions increased slightly for females under 21 and over 40.

Offenders who committed a crime of dishonesty had the highest reconviction rate (42.6% in 2017-18), compared to offenders that committed another type of crime. Offenders who committed a sexual crime had the lowest (11.5% in 2017-18).  The type of crime committed is one of a range of factors associated with the likelihood of being reconvicted, including the sentence received, offending history, and characteristics of individual offenders.

For the first time, reconvictions for index crimes with the new statutory domestic abuse aggravation are published this year. In 2017-18, seven percent were reconvicted for a further crime with a domestic abuse aggravation. The statutory domestic abuse aggravation was created by the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act 2016 and came into effect on the 24th April 2017 for crimes that took place on or after this date.

The reconviction rate for custodial sentences was 41.0% in 2017-18, which is a decrease of 1.4 percentage points from 42.4% in 2016-17. The average number of reconvictions for custodial sentences decreased by 6% from 0.83 to 0.78 in the same period.

The reconviction rate for CPOs, the most commonly used community sentence, was 29.1% in 2017-18, which was a decrease of 2.2 percentage points from 31.3% 2016-17. The average number of reconvictions per offender for CPOs was 0.51 in 2017-18 which a 9% decrease from the figure of 0.56 in 2016-17.

17.8% of individuals given a non-court disposal by the police in 2017-18 (such as a warning or fine), and 14.4% of individuals given a non-court disposal by COPFS, received another non-court disposal within a year.

Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at: