Short-term custodial sentences from 2015 to 2019: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

How many short-term custodial sentences have been given each year from 2015 until the present day? (Short-term being custodial sentences of 12 months or less.)


The answer to your question is provided in the table below:

Number of people receiving a short-term(1) custodial sentence(2) , 2014-15 to 2018-19

2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19
11,504 11,171 10,103 9,501 9,583

1 - Up to and including sentences of 365 days
2 - Excludes a small number of cases which resulted in detention of a child aged under 16, recall sentences and a small number of records we do not have sentence information for.

The information on the number of people receiving custodial sentences by length of sentence can be found in table 10d of the Criminal Proceedings in Scotland, 2018-19 publication (available here).

The presumption against short custodial sentences was extended to 12 months or less (from 3 months or less) in 2019. This means the court should not pass a sentence of imprisonment for a term of 12 months or less on a person unless the court considers that no other method of dealing with the person is appropriate. The extended presumption came into force on 4 July 2019. Initial monitoring data on the extended presumption was published on 25/02/2020. This can be found here. The publication of 2020 monitoring data is planned for 23/03/2021.

Please note: The most recent information held in the Scottish Government's Criminal Proceedings database is for the financial year 2018-19. 2019-20 data will not be available until Spring 2021. The dates of all Scottish Government Official and National Statistics publications are pre-announced, and the up to date list of future publications can be found at:

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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