Justice Analytical Services (JAS): Safer Communities and Justice Statistics Monthly Data Report: February 2023 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.

Summary statistics on prisons

* New *

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 7,423 on 1st February 2023.

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 2,150 (29% of the total prison population) on 1st February 2023.

Chart: Prison populations (total and remand), January 2019 through January 2023
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 February 2023. Next update due March 2023.

Further detail on prison population

* New *

In January 2023 (up until the morning of Wednesday 1st February 2023):

  • the population increased by 120 to 7,423
  • 2,150 were on remand: 1,840 (25%) untried & 310 (4%) awaiting sentence
  • 67% of arrivals were untried (592 of 889), and 17% awaiting sentence (149)

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 2022, the prison population overall has fallen somewhat. The remand population peaked on 1st February 2022 at 2,292 (30%) – the highest daily number on record.

Time on Remand to Date

* New *

Among the 2,150 people on remand as of the morning of Wednesday 1st February 2023, the median continuous time spent with this status to date was 79 days.

Chart: Banded continuous time on remand to date
The groupings of time on remand to date for people on remand on the morning of the 1st February. The largest proportion – 32.8% or 706 people - had been there for over 140 days. 25.1% (539 people) had been on remand for 31 to 90 days. 13.1% (281 people) for 91 to 140 days. The remaining 625 (29%) had been on remand for 30 days or less. Last updated February 2023. Next update due March 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 723 remand arrivals to prison with known offence types in January, awaiting trial or sentence for the following alleged offences.

Chart: Index offence category on entry of arrivals to remand
The index offences of the 723 arriving to untried and convicted awaiting sentence legal statuses in December. Most common was common assault (166 in total), followed by crimes against public justice (127), serious assault and attempted murder (78), drugs (supply) (44) then weapons possession (41). Last updated February 2023. Next update due March 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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