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Reconviction rates hold steady in latest year, new figures show

24 June 2019

Reconviction rates for offenders in Scotland have held steady for the latest year, according to newly published official statistics for the 2016-17 offender cohort.

The rate was 27.2% in 2016-17, which means that just over a quarter of offenders were reconvicted within a year. The average number of reconvictions per offender was 0.48, or just under half a conviction per offender on average. Both measures were the same as in 2015-16.

In the decade between 2007-08 and 2016-17, the reconviction rate decreased by four percentage points from 31.2% to 27.2%, and the average number of reconvictions per offender decreased by 16% from 0.57 to 0.48.

Male offenders are still reconvicted more often, on average, than female offenders, averaging 0.49 reconvictions per offender compared with 0.43 for females. 

Offenders who committed a crime of dishonesty had the highest average number of reconvictions per offender (0.94 in 2016-17), and those who committed a sexual crime had the lowest (0.16). Other factors associated with the likelihood of being reconvicted include the sentence received, offending history, and characteristics of individual offenders.

With domestic abuse offenders, 20.4% were reconvicted of a further offence within a year, not quite half of them for a further domestic abuse crime.

The reconviction rate for custodial sentences was 42.3% in 2016-17, down from 43.7% the previous year, and for CPOs, the most commonly used community sentence, 31.2%, nearly identical to the 2015-16 figure. For individuals given a non-court disposal by the police (such as a warning or fine), or by COPFS, 18.5% and 14.5% respectively received another non-court disposal within a year.

Welcoming the figures, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf commented: "Our firm focus on rehabilitation and reintegration has helped achieve a reconviction rate over the last two years that is the lowest since comparable records began 20 years ago. This remains a key focus of Scotland’s modern justice system in order to continue reducing reoffending – in turn, helping to keep crime down and communities safe, with fewer victims."

Click here to view the full statistical publication.


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