Criminal proceedings in Scotland: 2020-2021

Statistics on criminal proceedings concluded in Scottish courts and alternative measures to prosecution issued by the police and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service are presented for the ten years from 2011-12 to 2020-21. The latest year’s data is impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

8. Headline in court sentencing

(Tables 7 and 8)

The main types of penalty or sentence given to those found guilty in Scottish Courts are custodial sentences, community sentences and financial penalties. Sections 9 to 12 provide statistics on these types of punishments. In addition, for less serious cases or where it is felt the main punishment types are not suitable, the individual found guilty can be “admonished” (given a verbal warning from the sheriff). A full listing of the range of court disposals is outlined in Annex D.

Of all people convicted during 2020-21:

  • 39% were issued financial penalties (16,693)
  • 23% were issued community sentences (9,741), and
  • 17% were issued custodial sentences (7,224).

A further 21% of people were issued other sentences (8,874), which are mostly admonishments (Chart 8).

Chart 8. Sentences imposed, 2011-12, 2019-20 and 2020-21
A bar chart showing the proportion of sentences imposed in 2011-12, 2019-20  and 2020-21.



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