Extended presumption against short sentences: monitoring information July 2019 – December 2019

This bulletin provides information to monitor the effects of the implementation of the Extension to the Presumption Against Short Sentences (PASS).


As discussed earlier, due to the time between an offence being committed and that offence being disposed of in court, there is limited scope in this first bulletin to attribute any observed changes in sentencing to the impact of the extension of the presumption against short sentences of 12 months or less. However, the following points can be observed in the data presented here and we will continue to monitor these possible effects in future bulletins:

  • Numbers of community disposals reached their highest level (since April 2107) in October 2019, when 1,841 (24%) of all disposals were community orders.
  • Overall, numbers of custodial disposals have been falling since April 2019 and reached a low in November/December 2019.
  • The decrease in overall numbers of custodial disposals has been driven by a decrease in custodial disposals given to males.
  • Overall, the number of custodial sentences of 12 months or less has been decreasing since April 2017. In November and December of 2019, the number of custodial sentences of 12 months or less was around 665, the lowest value since April 2017.
  • The proportion of all disposals accounted for by custodial sentences of 12 months or less has fallen from 12.8% in April 2019 to 9.5% in November 2019.


Email: justice_analysts@gov.scot

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