Reconviction rates in Scotland: 2015-2016 offender cohort
- Both the reconviction rate and average number of reconvictions per offender have generally decreased over the past decade. Over the past 10 years between 2006-07 and 2015-16, the reconviction rate decreased by 5.4 percentage points from 32.4% to 27.0%. In the same period, the average number of reconvictions per offender decreased by 22% from 0.60 to 0.47 (Table 1).
- Male offenders are reconvicted more often, on average, than female offenders. In 2015-16, the average number of reconvictions per offender for male offenders was 0.49 which is 23% higher than the value of 0.40 for female offenders. Reconviction rates and average number of reconvictions for males and females both decreased between 2014-15 and 2015-16 (Table 2).
- For all age groups the reconviction rate and average number of reconvictions decreased between 2014-15 and 2015-16 (Table 3).
- As in previous years, offenders who commit a crime of dishonesty have the highest average number of reconvictions per offender (0.92 in 2015-16), compared to offenders that committed other crimes. Offenders who commit a sexual crime have the lowest (0.17 in 2015-16) (Table 6).
- Many offenders were reconvicted for different types of crimes to their index crimes which suggests that offenders do not necessarily specialise on a particular type of crime (Table 7).
- Offenders released from a custodial sentence had an average number of reconvictions per offender of 0.86 in 2015-16, which was slightly lower than 0.89 in 2014-15 (Table 8). Short custodial sentences have higher numbers of reconvictions than longer sentences. This is largely because offenders who are given shorter sentences commit relatively low level crimes such as shoplifting, and tend to commit these crimes in higher volumes than those committing more serious crimes, and so they are reconvicted more often. In 2015-16 the average number of reconvictions for custodial sentences under 3 months was 1.26, compared to 0.10 for sentences over 4 years (Table 9).
- The reconviction rate for CPOs, the most commonly used community sentence, was 30.8% in 2015-16, which was a decrease of 2.1 percentage points from 32.9% 2014-15. The average number of reconvictions per offender for CPOs also fell over the past year from 0.59 to 0.54, a decrease of 8% (Table 8).
- Of the 41,612 individuals convicted at least once in 2016-17, 65% had at least one prior conviction in the previous ten years, whilst 13% had over ten previous convictions (Table 20).
- 18.6% of individuals in 2015-16 who received a non-court disposal from the police, such as a warning or fine, went on to receive another non-court disposal within a year. In the same year, 15.1% of individuals who received a non-court disposal from the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service went on to receive another non-court disposal within a year (Table 18).