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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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7 Previous convictions: 2010-11 cohort (Table 19)

7.1 This section presents information on previous convictions for the 44,000 individual offenders who were convicted on at least one occasion in 2010-11 (Table 19). This table was previously published in the criminal proceedings statistics bulletins.

7.2 Of the 44,000 individuals convicted at least once in 2010-11 for a crime or relevant offence, 71 per cent had accumulated at least one previous conviction, including 22 per cent with over 10 previous convictions. Sixty per cent of individuals who had over 10 previous convictions were over the age of 30.

7.3 Sentencing is influenced by offending history as well as the circumstances of a particular case. Court proceedings data for 2010-11 show that:

  • first time offenders tend to get fines (45 per cent) or caution/admonition (31 per cent). Community sentences account for 17 per cent and custodial sentences for 6 per cent.
  • sporadic offenders with a couple of convictions in past 10 years tend to get fines (about 49 per cent), community sentences or caution/admonition (about 20 per cent for both). Custodial sentences account for 8 per cent.
  • those with a more regular conviction history (between 3 and 10 in the past 10 years) are somewhat more likely to get a custodial sentence (17 per cent), although most still get fines (about 40 per cent) and community sentences (about a quarter).
  • those with more than 10 convictions in the past 10 years tend to get custodial sentences (37 per cent) or fines (about 30 per cent), the remainder split between almost equally between community sentences and other disposals (primarily caution/admonition).

7.4 The number of prior convictions for serious offences is strongly linked to the likelihood of getting a custodial sentence: about 10 per cent of those with no prior solemn convictions get a custodial sentence, rising to about a third and a half for those with 1-2 and 3-10 solemn convictions respectively.

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Email: Howard Hooper

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