Statistical Bulletin Crime and Justice Series: Prison Statistics Scotland: 2009-10

Statistical bulletin showing information on the Scottish prison population.

2. Key points

  • The prison population has been increasing steadily since 2000-01, reaching an average daily population of 7,964 during 2009-10. This represents a year on year increase of 2 per cent compared to 6 per cent during 2008-09, and suggests that we may be seeing a certain degree of slowing down in the growth of the prison population in the short term ( Table 1). However, it is as yet too early to tell whether this represents the beginning of a longer term levelling out of the prison population.
  • This recent slowing down is driven mainly by a drop of nearly a tenth in the average daily population of remand prisoners to 1,522 ( Table 1)..
  • The sentenced population continues to show a steady increase of 5 per cent overall, reaching 6,441 in 2009-10, mainly due to increases in the medium term population with sentences of six months to four years. The short term population with sentences under 6 months fell notably over the past year to 439, a drop of just over 10 per cent, continuing the downward trend observed since 2006-07 ( Table 3).
  • During 2009-10, the average daily population increased by 2 per cent to 7,540 for men, and by 3 per cent to 424 for women. The drop in the remand population is particularly notable for women, with a fall of just over a fifth for both untried prisoners and those who have been convicted but not yet sentenced. This has led to a slowing down of the rate of increase relative to men, although this is partially offset by a higher rate of increase in the female sentenced population (15 per cent compared to 4 per cent for men) ( Table 1).
  • The average daily population on Home Detention Curfew ( HDC) during 2009-10 was 371, a slight increase of 1 per cent over the previous year. The number of releases from prison on HDC was 1,885, a drop of 8 per cent compared to the previous year ( Table 8).
  • Receptions tend to show some year on year variation, but the overall trend has been consistently downward since 2006-07, the most recent figures showing a fall of 6 per cent ( Table 9).
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