Coronavirus (COVID-19): Justice Analytical Services data report - August 2021

Monthly data report on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the justice system in Scotland, including information from Police Scotland, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service, and Scottish Prison Service.

Prison population

While the overall prison population is lower than pre-pandemic levels, the number of people held on remand remains at a historic high. The changing levels across groups that are required by law to be housed separately – like those on remand – pose new difficulties in the management of the prison population.

In August 2021 (up until the morning of Wednesday 1st September 2021):

  • the population increased by 30 to 7,578
  • 2,088 were on remand: 1,778 (23%) untried & 310 (4%) awaiting sentence
  • 66% of arrivals were untried (609 of 925), and 17% awaiting sentence (161)

During the pandemic, growth in the prison population was largely driven by growth in the remand population. However, the prison population rose in June 2021 while remand population remained relatively static. This is likely an effect of increasing court activity following the easing of public health restrictions.

Chart: Total prison population
Line graph showing that the total prison population has returned to January 2021 levels.
Chart: Remand population
Line graph showing that the number of people held on remand remains at a historic high level.

Remand Arrival Offences

There were 750 un-sentenced arrivals to prison with known offence types in August, awaiting trial or sentence for the following alleged offences

Chart: Index offence category on entry of un-sentenced arrivals
Bar chart showing remand arrivals by offence type, with the highest number of (Untried) arrivals for common assault.

Note: Double-counting may occur where an individual is absent from prison for a night in the week and then returns. Where an individual has multiple alleged offence types, the offence towards the top of the list in the chart is used as the index offence.

Further Information:

Latest published annual prison population statistics can be found here:



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