Reconviction Rates in Scotland: 2019-20 Offender Cohort

Statistics on reconvictions are presented up to the latest cohort of 2019-20. The latest year’s data is impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and should not be interpreted to be indicative of longer term trends.

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Reconviction Rates in Scotland: 2019-20 Offender Cohort

Statistics are presented on the number of individuals who were released from a custodial sentence or given a non-custodial sentence in 2019-20 and then subsequently reconvicted within a year, along with selected trends. This period partially overlaps with the COVID-19 pandemic, and the effect the pandemic had on an offender being reconvicted depends on when they entered the cohort. For example, if an offender is released from custody and therefore joins the cohort in the middle of 2019-20, then half of their follow up period would be during the COVID-19 restrictions.

The impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on these statistics means we would advise heavy caution in using the data presented in this publication. As a result, the data for the 2019-20 cohort is not indicative of longer-term trends. One reason this cohort has been affected by COVID-19 is the change in case processing times during the pandemic, as shown in the Journey Times publication.

The reconviction rate, which is the percentage of offenders who are reconvicted in a year, was 24.1% in 2019-20. This is a 4.5 percentage point decrease from 28.6% in 2018-19. The average number of reconvictions per offender, a measure of how often offenders are reconvicted, decreased by 22% in the same period from 0.51 to 0.40. See Chart 1 and Table 1.

Chart 1: Reconviction rate and the average number of reconvictions per offender: 1997-98 to 2019-20 cohort



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