Prison population projections: November 2023 edition

This report presents short-term Scottish prison population projections for the six month period from October 2023 to March 2024. They have been produced using ‘microsimulation’ scenario modelling which simulates prison arrivals and departures, and estimates the number of individuals in prison.

1 Key Points

The latest prison population projections to March 2024 show that:

  • The overall prison population in Scotland is most likely to either remain stable or rise slightly between October 2023 and March 2024, with a projected range of between 7,500 and 8,650 for the average daily prison population in March 2024. On 1st October 2023, the prison population was around 7,950.
  • It is most likely that the remand population will remain stable but it may increase or decrease between October 2023 and March 2024. If it decreases because of enhanced monthly case conclusions, this may contribute to an increased sentenced population as more individuals transition from remand.
  • It is most likely that the sentenced population will either remain stable or rise slightly; it may rise if the overall rate of transition from remand to the sentenced population increases or if there is a greater inflow of individuals directly from the community into the sentenced population.

There is uncertainty in the prison population projections over the next six months due to several factors, especially around the turn of the year when the population historically has tended to fluctuate rapidly during the months of December and January[2], and variability in both court case registrations and throughput.



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