Publication - FOI/EIR release

Average length of stay for prisoners between 2015 & 2020: FOI release

Published: 24 Mar 2021

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

Published:
24 Mar 2021
Average length of stay for prisoners between 2015 & 2020: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202100154377
Date received: 10 Feb 2021
Date responded: 18 Feb 2021
Information requested

In the Scottish Government’s publication of annual prison population statistics, it details the number of prisoners who were liberated from prison that had at least a 4 year stay in prison. What was the average length of stay in prison for such individuals? Please provide this information, denoted in years (and months if possible), for the years of 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20. For the avoidance of doubt in what I’m referring to, in 2019-20 there were 199 prisoners who left prison after serving at least 4 years in prison.

Response

Please find below the average length of time spent in custody by individuals leaving prison after 4 years or more in financial years 2015-16 through 2019-20.
 

Financial Year

Departures after 4 or more years

Median Length of Custody (years)

2015-16

218

5.0

2016-17

228

5.5

2017-18

184

5.4

2018-19

233

5.4

2019-20

199

5.3


Note that the median time in years has been provided for each financial year. This metric has been chosen in place of the mean as a better measure of central tendency in this time-bounded dataset. Durations are constrained at the lower end of the scale by the 4 year minimum, and at the upper end by the data held in the prisoner records system (PR2), which was brought online in 2003. A mean would be influenced by the construction of the data, with a greater range of possible values for later years. The median is not affected by this artificial bounding.

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