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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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3 Young People in Custody

[Supplementary tables A2, B2, and M1]

In the context of stability in the prison (average daily) population overall, the number of young people in custody fell in 2021-22. The population of 16 and 17 year olds continued in its downward trend, falling from 22 in 2020-21 to 14 in 2021-22. The population of 18 to 20 year olds also fell in that period by around 10% from 194 to 174.

The reduction in 16 and 17 year olds is observed across the sentenced and untried populations. Between 2020-21 and 2021-22, the sentenced population reduced from 7 to 3, the untried population from 12 to 10. The convicted awaiting sentence (CAS) population remained stable at around 2 in both years.

For 18 to 20 year olds, the sentenced and CAS populations reduced between 2020-21 and 2021-22 (-17 and –4 respectively), while the untried population remained stable (+1 to 63).

The overall population of young people in custody by legal status is provided in Figure 12. The proportion of this group on remand (untried and CAS) has been consistently higher than that of the prison population as a whole, and pre-pandemic was typically around 30%. The reductions in the sentenced population in 2020-21 led this proportion to increase to 44%. In 2021-22, 48% of young people in custody were on remand on the average day.

Figure 12: Young people (under 21) in prison by legal status – average daily populations, 2009-10 to 2021-22

3.1 Index offence groups

[Supplementary tables M2]

As shown in Figure 13, the sentenced (average daily) population of young people continued a previously observed downward trend[18] across all index offence groups (with the exception of Group 7, although very small numbers in this group make it difficult to discern trends)[19]. This includes a reduction in those serving sentences for index offences in Group 1 (Violence) where an increase had previously been noted (between 2018-19 and 2019-20).

Figure 13: Index offence groups of sentenced young people (under 21 years) – average daily populations, 2009-10 to 2021-22
Annual average daily population of young people from 2009-10 to 2021-22 by index offence group. The trend is described in the body of the report

Group 1 (Violence) continued to account for the largest group in the sentenced population of young people in 2021-22 at 61% (58 sentenced young people on the average day). The second largest segment of the sentenced population had index offences in Group 2 (Sexual crimes) (20%, 19 sentenced young people on the average day).

3.2 Index sentences

[Supplementary table M3]

Figure 14 shows the index sentence profile of the (average daily) population of people under 21. This population continued to fall, with 96 sentenced under-21 year olds on the average day in 2021-22; a 23% reduction from 118 in 2020-21. In line with this overall trend, there has been stability or a reduction in the population of young people in each of the index sentence bands between 2020-21 and 2021-22. The largest proportionate reduction was in those serving life sentences, falling from 8 in 2020-21 to 4 in 2021-22, all of whom entered the adult population. This was followed by a 36% reduction in the population serving index sentences of 1-2 years, decreasing from 30 in 2020-21 to 19 in 2021-22.

Figure 14: Index sentences of young people (under 21) – average daily populations, 2009-10 to 2021-22
Annual average daily population of young people 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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