Statistical bulletin - Crime and Justice series: Prison statistics Scotland 2010-11

This bulletin shows data up to 2010-11 on Scottish prison population level and characteristics, receptions to/liberations from Scottish prisons, and international comparisons.

This document is part of a collection

2. Key points

  • After the steady increase observed since 2000-01, the prison population has dropped slightly to an annual daily average of 7,853 for 2010-11. This represents a fall of 1 per cent from the previous year, and suggests that the prison population has stabilised in the short term although levels remain very high in relation to the current design capacity of about 7,330 ( Table 1). It is difficult to tell at this stage whether this represents the beginning of a longer term levelling out of the prison population, as this has shown short-term peaks and troughs over the past 20 years while the underlying longer term trend has been upward.
  • The current dip is primarily due to marked drops in the young offender population for both remand and direct sentenced prisoners by 14 and 17 per cent respectively ( Table 1).
  • The sentenced population has dropped by 1 per cent overall, reaching 6,378 in 2010-11. This is due to a decrease across most sentence groups, apart from the life sentence and recall populations which have increased by 5 and 10 per cent respectively ( Table 3).
  • During 2010-11, the average daily population decreased by 2 per cent to 7,419 for men, while the female population increased by 3 per cent to 435 ( Table 1).
  • The average daily population on Home Detention Curfew during 2010-11 was 303, a marked drop of 18 per cent over the previous year. The number of releases from prison on HDC was 1,820, a drop of 3 per cent compared to the previous year ( Table 8).
  • Receptions tend to show some year on year variation, but the overall trend has been a downward drift since 2006-07, the most recent figures showing a fall of 2 per cent ( Table 9). A fall in the number of receptions does not necessarily translate into a drop in population since the marked increases observed in earlier years will have a lasting impact on the population in subsequent years, particularly for the more high-tariff crimes such as serious assault and attempted murder ( Table 12).
Back to top