Publication - Statistics

Reconviction rates - offender cohort: 2017 to 2018

Published: 6 Oct 2020
From:
Cabinet Secretary for Justice
Directorate:
Justice Directorate
Part of:
Law and order, Statistics
ISBN:
9781800041127

Analyses of trends in reconviction statistics up to the latest cohort of 2017 to 2018.

Contents
Reconviction rates - offender cohort: 2017 to 2018
Key points

Key points

Statistics are presented on the number of individuals who were released from a custodial sentence or given a non-custodial sentence in 2017-18 and then subsequently reconvicted within a year, along with selected trends. Note that the period covered by this bulletin is prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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 per offender decreased by 4% in the same period from 0.48 to 0.46. See Chart 1 and Table 1.

Chart 1: Reconviction rate and the average number of reconvictions per offender: 1997-98 to 2017-18 cohort
Both measures have generally decreased from 2009-10 onwards.
Infographic illustrating some of the key points in the bulletin
  • The reconviction rate decreased by one percentage point over the last year from 27.3% in 2016-17 to 26.3% in 2017-18. The average number of reconvictions per offender decreased by 4% in the same period from 0.48 to 0.46 (Table 1).
  • There were decreases in both measures of reconvictions over the past year in most of the groupings presented in this bulletin.
  • The decrease in the reconviction rate and average number of reconvictions per offender continues the trend seen over the past decade. Between 2008-09 and 2017-18, the reconviction rate decreased by 5.2 percentage points from 31.5% to 26.3%, and the average number of reconvictions per offender decreased by 23% from 0.60 to 0.46 (Table 1).
  • 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. Reconviction rates and average number of reconvictions for males and females were both lower than last year (Table 2).
  • Almost all age-gender combinations saw a decrease in both measures of reconvictions in the past year. However, both measures increased slightly for females under 21 and over 40 (Table 4 and Table 5).
  • As in previous years, 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) (Table 6).
  • 8.8% of offenders with an index domestic abuse crime or offence in 2017-18 were reconvicted for a further domestic abuse crime or offence (Table 8a), and 19.0% were reconvicted for any crime or offence.
  • Offenders released from a custodial sentence had an average number of reconvictions per offender of 0.78 in 2017-18, which was 6% lower than 0.83 in 2016-17 (Table 9). Short custodial sentences have higher reconvictions than longer sentences. This is largely because offenders who are given shorter sentences commit relatively less serious crimes such as shoplifting, and tend to commit more of these crimes than those committing more serious crimes, and so they are reconvicted more often. In 2017-18 the average number of reconvictions per offender for custodial sentences of three months or less was 1.17, compared to 0.12 for those over four years (Table 10a).
  • The reconviction rate for CPOs, the most commonly used community sentence, was 29.1% in 2017-18, which was 2.2 percentage points lower than the figure of 31.3% in 2016-17. The average number of reconvictions per offender for CPOs was 0.51 in 2017-18, which was 9% lower than 0.56 in 2016-17 (Table 9).
  • 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 the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, received another non-court disposal within a year (Table 19).

Contact

Email: Justice_Analysts@gov.scot