Justice Analytical Services (JAS) Safer Communities and Justice Statistics Monthly Data Report December 2022 edition

This report contains summary statistics covering a number of important justice and safer communities statistics. It is published with up to date statistics every month.

This document is part of a collection

Summary statistics on prisons


The prison population has risen from its lowest point at the end of May 2020. Friday population figures published by the Scottish Prison Service, show that the prison population rose from around 7,500 in April 2018 to around 8,300 in November 2019, but fell sharply in the early days of the lockdown in 2020. This was due to a drop in the number of sentenced admissions following the Covid-19 outbreak and the early release of prisoners.

The population has since stabilised between 7,300 and 7,600 and was 7,402 on 1st December 2022.

The remand population was at its lowest point of 1,114 on 24th April 2020, but grew to over 2,000 by September 2020. The remand population has grown significantly since, and exceeded previous records on 1st February 2022 to a new peak of 2,292. It has since fallen slightly to 2,115 (29% of the total prison population) on 1st December 2022.

Chart: Prison populations (total and remand), January 2019 through November 2022
The Friday prison population overall and the remand population up to April 2020. Thereafter, daily population figures are provided. The trends are described in the body text. Last updated December 2022. Next update due January 2023.

Further detail on prison population


In November 2022 (up until the morning of Thursday 1st December 2022):

  • the population decreased by 11 to 7,402
  • 2,115 were on remand: 1,788 (24%) untried & 327 (4%) awaiting sentence
  • 64% of arrivals were untried (558 of 874), and 18% awaiting sentence (155)

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 growing difficulties in the management of the prison population.

The remand population grew during March through November 2021, exceeding its previous recorded peak. In line with previous years, overall numbers and remand populations fell during December 2021, hitting a low of 7,433 (2,061 remand) over Christmas before rebounding. Since February, the prison population overall has fallen somewhat, but the remand population peaked again on 1st February 2022 at 2,292 (30%) – the highest daily number on record.

Time on Remand to Date


Among the 2,115 people on remand as of the morning of Thursday 1st December 2022 , the median continuous time spent with this status to date was 78 days.

Chart: Banded continuous time on remand
The groupings of time on remand to date for people on remand on the morning of the 1st November. The largest proportion – 32.2% or 682 people - had been there for over 140 days. 25.4% (538 people) had been on remand for 31 to 90 days. 14% (297 people) for 91 to 140 days. The remaining 598 (28.3%) had been on remand for 30 days or less. Last updated December 2022. Next update due January 2023.

Note: The remand population includes individuals whose trial has commenced but not concluded, as well as those awaiting commencement of a trial. As a result, the figures referenced above reflect only that an individual has held the same status for an extended period, but do not reflect the relationship between these times on remand and the ongoing court procedure(s) to which they relate.

Remand Arrival Offences

* New *

There were 681 remand arrivals to prison with known offence types in November, awaiting trial or sentence for the following alleged offences.

Chart: Index offence category on entry of arrivals to remand
The index offences of the 681 arriving to untried and convicted awaiting sentence legal statuses in November. Most common was common assault (172 in total), followed by crimes against public justice (110), serious assault and attempted murder (79), threatening and abusive behaviour (46) then drugs supply (40). Last updated December 2022. Next update due January 2023.

Note: Double-counting may occur where an individual arrives, is absent from prison for one or more nights in the month, and then returns before the end of the period. Where an individual has multiple alleged offence types in a single stint, the offence towards the top of the list in the chart is used as the index offence.

The crime categories presented here have been revised in line with those presented in Recorded Crime in Scotland, 2021-22.


Email: Justice_Analysts@gov.scot

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