11.1 This bulletin focuses on a follow-up period of one year rather than two years as the one year rate tracks the two year rate and is more timely. This is supported by findings made by the Ministry of Justice in England and Wales in Public Service Agreement 23: ‘Make communities safer’. In a briefing for the House of Commons Justice committee, the National Audit Office say that “The decision to measure the level of re-offending in only the first year following an individual’s release from prison or commencement of a community sentence is a valid one. The Department has conducted analysis, which shows that 80 per cent of re-offending that takes place in the first two years is committed during the first year. The loss of completeness must be balanced against the need for timely performance information in an indicator that already requires a long lead time.” In Scotland, there is also evidence from published material that the criminal justice system is processing cases faster, and this is particularly apparent in the Scottish Government publication of the 26 week target of Summary Court cases. It is also supported by information published by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, that more summary criminal cases are being dealt with within 26 weeks in 2011-12 compared to 2006-07.
11.2 This improvement in processing time suggests that a shorter follow-up period (of one year) is most appropriate for assessing the government’s aims of reducing reoffending.
Email: Howard Hooper
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