Justice Secretary comments on reconviction statistics

Rates at one of the lowest levels in the last 22 years.

New figures show reconviction rates are lower than they were a decade ago with rates overall at one of their lowest levels in the last 22 years.

The vast majority of offenders, more than two-thirds, are not reconvicted within a year according to statistics outlined in the Reconviction Rates in Scotland: 2018-19 Offender Cohort bulletin.

Reconviction rates for Community Payback Orders have remained static at their lowest level, whereas they have increased marginally for custodial sentences.

The figures show:

  • the reconviction rate was less than a third (28.3%) in 2018-19, which means more than two thirds of were not reconvicted within a year
  • over the past decade, the average number of reconvictions per offender has decreased by 11%, from 0.56 in 2009-10, to 0.50 in 2018-19. The reconviction rate has decreased by 2.3 percentage points in the same period from 30.6% to 28.3%
  • average reconviction numbers for Community Payback Orders per offender were down from 0.52 in 2017-18 to 0.51 in 2018-19
  • between 2017-18 and 2018-19, the reconviction rate increased by 1.9 percentage points, from 26.4% to 28.3%. The average number of reconvictions per offender increased 4%, from 0.47 to 0.50

The Scottish Government has put in place a wide range of measures focussed on reducing reoffending, including a key commitment to encouraging a reduction in short-term prison sentences. The figures show they are less effective at reducing the likelihood of reoffending than Community Payback Orders, which are designed to address the underlying causes of offending behaviour.

Justice Secretary Keith Brown said:

“Our firm focus on prevention, effective community interventions and rehabilitation is working, with reconviction rates at one of the lowest levels recorded.

“Our Programme for Government is clear we should be working to change the way that imprisonment is used, while expanding community justice services which support community sentences and other interventions  that deliver real improvements.

“We have strengthened our financial commitment to community interventions, with the Scottish Budget for 2020/21 increasing investment in community justice services to more than £117 million, an increase of over £6.5 million compared to the previous financial year.

“Community sentencing makes individuals pay back to the community while addressing the underlying causes of their offending behaviour. And they work. These figures show those given short custodial sentences of one year or less are reconvicted nearly twice as often as those given Community Payback Orders.

“We remain fully committed to taking forward a range of actions focused on reducing offending including improving rehabilitation for those in custody and providing support to better help them reintegrate back into a Scotland safer and fairer for all.”


Read more here


Media enquiries

Back to top