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Scottish Prison Population Statistics 2021-22

The latest longitudinal statistics on prison populations and flows into and out of prison. Includes information about the demographics of people in prison, the time they spend there, their sentences and offences.

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2 Women in Custody

[Supplementary tables A2, B2 and M1]

The (average daily) population of women continued to fall in 2021-22, reducing by around 5% from 301 to 284. By contrast, the population of men increased by around 3% between 2020-21 and 2021-22, rising from 7,037 to 7,220. Women comprised just 4% of the average daily prison population in 2021-22.

As with the population overall, these changes varied by legal status category. Figure 8 shows that the sentenced population of women fell by 7% from 213 in 2020-21 to 198 in 2021-22, with the untried (-4) and convicted awaiting sentence (CAS, +2) populations remaining broadly stable over the same period.

Figure 8: Women in prison by Legal Status – average daily populations, 2009-10 to 2021-22
Annual average daily population of women in prison from 2009-10 to 2021-22 by legal status. The trend is described in the body of the report

In contrast, Figure 9 shows that between 2020-21 and 2021-22 the men’s sentenced population remained broadly stable (-46), while the men’s untried population increased by 14% from 1,317 to 1,507. The men’s CAS population remained broadly stable (+39) between 2020-21 and 2021-22.

Figure 9: Men in prison by Legal Status – average daily populations, 2009-10 to 2021-22
Annual average daily population of men in prison from 2009-10 to 2021-22 by legal status. The trend is described in the body of the report

As a share of their respective populations, the proportion of women on remand has consistently exceeded that of men. In both populations, the proportion on remand rose again between 2020-21 and 2021-22: for men that proportion increased from 22% to 25%, while for women it increased from 28% to 30%.

2.1 Index offence groups

[Supplementary table M2]

There was a 7% overall reduction in the (average daily) population of sentenced women, from 213 in 2020-21 to 198 in 2021-22.

On the average day in 2021-22, 63% of women in the sentenced population had index offences[16] in Group 1 (Violence). 13% were in Group 5 (Crimes against society) and 11% in Group 3 (Crimes of dishonesty).

Compared to the previous year, there was a small increase in the population with index sentences in Group 1 (Violence) – from 122 to 125 on the average day – and Group 6 (Anti-social offences) – from 4 to 8 on the average day. Across other offence groups populations fell slightly or remained stable (see Figure 10).

Figure 10: Sentenced index offence groups of women – average daily populations, 2009-10 to 2021-22
Annual average daily population of women from 2009-10 to 2021-22 by index offence group. The trend is described in the body of the report

The population of women serving sentences for index Group 3 (Dishonesty) and 5 (Crimes against society) index offences have more than halved from pre-pandemic levels. Group 3 index offence populations fell from 55 in 2019-20 to 23 (around 11% of sentenced women) in 2021-22, while Group 5 index offence populations fell from 59 to 25 (around 13% of sentenced women).

The women’s sentenced population is increasingly comprised of those serving sentences for Group 1 (Violence) offences. In 2019-20, 49% of the sentenced population of women were serving sentences for index Group 1 (Violence). In 2020-21 this proportion increased to 57%, further increasing to 63% in 2021-22.

2.2 Index sentences

[Supplementary table M3]

Figure 11 shows the index sentence[17] profile of the (average daily) population of women to 2021-22. In line with the 7% reduction in this population overall, reductions are observed across the different index sentence bands between 2020-21 and 2021-22. The only exception is in the subgroup of those serving index sentences of up to 1 year, which remained broadly stable at 55 in 2021-22 (+1 from 54 in 2020-21).

As in the overall population, the share of the women’s sentenced population serving shorter index sentences remains below pre-pandemic levels. There were substantial reductions in the population of women serving short index sentences between 2019-20 and 2021-22, but a broad stability in the population of women serving long-term and life index sentences between 2019-20 and 2020-21. In 2019-20, 68% of the (average daily) women’s sentenced population were serving index sentences of up to 4 years. In 2021-22 this had fallen to 60%.

Figure 11: Index sentence length populations of women in custody – average daily populations, 2009-10 to 2021-22
Annual average daily population of women from 2009-10 to 2021-22 by index sentence. The trend is described in the body of the report

Contact

Email: Justice_Analysts@gov.scot

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