News In Focus
Reoffending rates down, latest figures show
25 September 2012
Fewer offenders are finding themselves back in court in the first year after they have been dealt with, according to new figures from Scotland's Chief Statistician.
Published today, Reconviction rates in Scotland: 2009-10 offender cohort shows that the one year reconviction rate has declined over the past eight years by 2.8 percentage points, from 32.9% to 30.1% of offenders between those dealt with in 2002-03 and those in 2009-10.
There were also nearly 10 fewer new convictions for every 100 offenders over the same period. down from 63.9 to 54.0. Both rates are now at their lowest levels in each of the last 13 years.
The publication provides detailed analyses of the figures, including offender characteristics, disposal and crime type, and geographical area. Other key findings include:
- a marked fall in the one year reconviction rate for the under 21 age group, from 42.4% for 1997-98 offenders to 36.1% for 2009-10, and in the frequency rate from 93.4 to 65.3 convictions per 100 offenders;
- a fall in the one year reconviction rate for offenders given drug treatment and testing orders from 79.1% (2003-04 offenders) to 62.8% (2009-10), and in the frequency rate from 221.4 to 149.6 convictions over this period;
- a one year reconviction rate for those released from a custodial sentence of three months or less of 58.4%, compared to 39.9% for those released from sentences of six months to two years, and 23.9% for those given a community service order;
- those released from such short custodial sentences are also reconvicted three times more often than those who get community service orders;
- in 2009-10, 80.5% of police disposals were antisocial behaviour fixed penalty notices, and 27.5% of offenders given police disposals were given another non-court disposal within one year;
- in 2009-10, 56.8% of Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal disposals were fiscal fines, and 23.4% of offenders given such disposals were given another non-court disposal within one year.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill commented: "Whilst these figures are encouraging, reoffending rates are still too high and we want to build on these latest statistics to reduce reoffending rates even further. That is exactly why we have taken action over recent years to take forward and implement the recommendations of the McLeish Prisons Commission and why we have brought in the new community payback order.
“What is again made clear by these statistics is that short term prison sentences or three months or less simply don't work."