Reconviction rates fall to 17-year low

Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Justice
Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Justice
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The number of people being reconvicted within 12 months has hit a 17-year low, according to recent figures.

They also show that the number of times a person reoffends has also dropped and, over the last decade, the average number of reconvictions has decreased by nearly a third for those aged 21-25.

Released by Scotland’s Chief Statistician, the figures record a decrease of 16 per cent in the average number of times that individual offenders are reconvicted within a year, from 0.61 per offender in 2004-05 to 0.51 in 2013-14.

Offenders who committed a crime of dishonesty had the highest number of reconvictions per offender compared to those who had committed other types of crimes. On average, offenders who are sentenced to six months or less in prison are reconvicted twice as often as those given community payback orders, the most common type of community sentence. While the number of reconvictions for people on Drug Treatment and Testing Orders (DTTOs) has risen since last year, the rate has dropped by a third over the past 10 years.

Michael Matheson, Justice Secretary, said the figures show that progress on tackling reoffending continues to be made.

He continued: “The continued fall in reconvictions is testament to the work done by our police, courts and other partners in communities across Scotland to prevent offending and, where crimes do occur, stop people going on to commit further offences.

“The evidence backs up our approach that robust community sentences, such as CPOs, are more effective at reducing reoffending than short custodial sentences.

“The statistics build on the strong work being done in Scotland’s justice system, with recorded crime at a 41-year low, youth offending and knife crime down and an end to automatic early release for all long-term prisoners. But we will not be complacent in our efforts to reduce crime even further.”