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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4 Sentenced Index Offences

[Supplementary tables M2]

This section provides detailed breakdowns of index offence groups in the sentenced average daily population discussed in section 1.3 into index offence categories[20]. The 50 offence categories (and eight over-arching offence groups) provide high-level summaries of the offence profile of the prison population, but necessarily mask the full complexity of the offence profiles of individuals in the prison population.

Some of the likely reasons for the changes discussed in this section are discussed in section 1.1.

4.1 Group 1 – Non-sexual crimes of violence

The largest category of offence in Group 1 is ‘Serious assault and attempted murder’. The sentenced (average daily) population with this index offence was 980 in 2021-22, a slight reduction from the previous year (-2%). There was a larger proportionate reduction (-8%) in the sentenced population with the index offence of ‘Robbery’, falling to 345 in 2021-22.

The offence category of ‘Domestic Abuse’ saw the largest annual proportionate increase, increasing 59% from an sentenced population of 27 in 2020-21 to 43 in 2021-22. Offences in this category originate with the 2018 Act and therefore do not cover the totality of domestic abuse offences in the prison population.

The largest absolute increase was observed in ‘Common Assault’. The sentenced population with this index offence increased 12% to 541, but has not reached the pre-pandemic population of 610 in 2019-20.

The sentenced population with index offences ‘Murder and culpable homicide’ increased by 3 from the previous year to 564, and ‘Causing death by dangerous driving’ by 3 to 32.

4.2 Group 2 – Sexual offences

In line with the previously observed rising trend[21], the sentenced (average daily) population with an index offence of ‘Rape and attempted rape’ increased between 2020-21 and 2021-22. This population rose by 8% from around 668 in 2020-21 to 721 on an average day in 2021-22, and remains the largest population category in Group 2.

The sentenced poulation with the index offence of ‘Sexual assault’ fell 7% over the same period, from 240 to 225.

Increases were observed in the categories ‘Causing to view sexual activity or images’, ‘Communicating indecently’, and 'Indecent photos of children’. The largest of these was ‘Communicating indecently’, which increased from 8 in 2020-21 to 18 in 2021-22.

4.3 Group 3 – Crimes of dishonesty

The (average daily) populations across the group 3 offence categories all fell in 2021-22. The largest category ‘Housebreaking’ saw a 16% decrease from 209 in 2020-21 to around 176 in 2021-22. ‘Shoplifting’ - the second largest category – fell a further 16% on the more than 54% reduction of the previous year and had 54 sentenced people on the average day in 2021-22.

4.4 Group 4 – Damage and reckless behaviour

The sentenced (average daily) population with an index offence of ‘Reckless conduct’ or ‘Vandalism’ increased marginally, while that of ‘Fire-raising’ fell. Overall the population of this group fell by 5% from 91 in 2020-21 to 87 in 2021-22.

4.5 Group 5 – Crimes against society

The (average daily) populations across the group 5 offence categories fell by 8% in 2021-22 from 871 to 799. The largest index offence category in this group is ‘Drugs - Supply’, whose population fell by 9% from 421 in 2020-21 to 381 in 2021-22. The largest proportionate reduction was in the ‘Weapons possession’ category, which fell 14% to 194 on the average day in 2021-22. It nonetheless remains the second largest category, ahead of ‘Crimes against public justice’ which had a sentenced population of 173 on the average day in 2021-22.

4.6 Group 6 – Antisocial offences

The (average daily) population in this group increased 12% from 193 in 2020-21 to 216 in 2021-22.

Around 94% of the sentenced population in this group had an index offence of ‘Threatening and abusive behaviour’ (204), and the rise in this category (+23) accounted for 98% of the overall rise in this group.

4.7 Group 7 – Miscellaneous offences

The (average daily) population in this group remained broadly stable between 2020-21 and 2021-22 (109). Around two thirds of the population in Group 7 (74) had index ‘Licensing offences’, while a further 34 had index ‘Other miscellaneous offences’ in 2021-22.

4.8 Group 8 – Road traffic offences

The index offence of ‘Dangerous and careless driving’ made up around 60% of the sentenced average daily population of this group and remained broadly stable from the previous year at 56 on the average day. The second largest category - ‘Unlawful use of vehicle’ - increased marginally from 27 to 29 in 2021-22.



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