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Reconviction Rates in Scotland: 2009-10 Offender Cohort

Analysis of one year reconviction rates for the cohort of offenders released from a custodial sentence or receiving a non-custodial disposal in 2009-10

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9 International comparisons of reconviction rates

9.1 Ministry of Justice and Scottish Government analysts participated in an exercise to compare reoffending rates for England and Wales, Scotland and the Netherlands. The results were published in the Ministry of Justice Compendium of reoffending statistics and analysis in November 2010. The main findings were that differences in methodology, terminology and criminal justice systems between the three countries make it difficult to meaningfully compare reconviction rates across the different jurisdictions. When these differences were stripped out of the analysis, the patterns of reconviction became more similar.

9.2 The National Audit Office summarised these problems in the report Comparing International Criminal Justice Systems and concluded that comparability is impaired because of differences in the ways crimes are counted and offences categorised, changes in measurement rules and definitions, and wide variation in the timeliness of data. Differing patterns across jurisdictions will be driven by differences between legal systems and policy structures, as well as public confidence in the justice system.

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