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Reconviction Statistics 2014-15

Published: 2 May 2017 09:30

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Reconviction rates for offenders in Scotland are at the lowest levels for eighteen years, according to new statistics published today by Scotland’s Chief Statistician. Over the past decade there has been a decrease of 4.3 percentage points in the proportion of offenders being reconvicted within a year. In 2014-15, 28.2% of offenders were reconvicted within a year, compared to 32.5% in 2005-06, a decline largely driven by decreases in reconvictions for offenders aged under 25.

In addition to the decrease in the overall reconviction rate, results also show a decrease of 17% in the average number of times that individual offenders are reconvicted within a year, from 0.60 reconvictions per offender in 2005-06 to 0.50 in 2014-15. On average, male offenders have more reconvictions than females; in 2014-15 the average number of reconvictions per male offender was 0.51, compared with 0.44 for females.

Offenders who committed a crime of dishonesty had the highest number of reconvictions per offender compared to those who had committed other crime types. Offenders who committed a crime of dishonesty had on average 0.92 reconvictions per offender in 2014-15, whereas offenders who commit a sexual crime had the lowest number of reconvictions per offender (0.18 in 2014-15). The type of crime committed by offenders is one of a range of factors affecting reconvictions, including the sentence received, offending history and  characteristics of individual offenders.

The average number of reconvictions per offender also differs by the type of sentence they receive. Offenders given a Drug Treatment and Testing Order (DTTO) had the highest average number of reconvictions per offender, with a value of 1.71 in 2014-15, compared to 0.85 for those individuals released from custodial sentences and 0.35 for those individuals who received a fine.

The statistics also show differences in reconvictions for offenders receiving a custodial sentence by the length of sentence received. Those released from shorter sentences of 3 months or less had, on average, a higher number of reconvictions (1.25) compared to those released from longer custodial sentences, such as between 3 and 6 months (1.16) and over 4 years (0.13). Offenders released from custodial sentences of 3 months or less also had, on average, a higher reconviction rate than those offenders given a Community Payback Order (0.58).

Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed here.

Background

The full statistical publication is available here.

This publication contains detailed analyses of reconviction rates and the average number of reconvictions per offender by: offender characteristics, sentence type, crime type, and geographical area.

  • The reconviction rate, for the purposes of these statistics, is defined as the proportion of offenders who are reconvicted within a year after being released from a custodial sentence or given a non-custodial sentence.       
  • The average number of reconvictions per offender, is the number of times that offenders in a cohort are reconvicted within a year after being released from a custodial sentence or given a non-custodial sentence.

Users of these data on reconviction rates for planning and targeting of resources include: the Scottish Government, Local Authorities, the Scottish Court Services, and Police Scotland. The average number of reconvictions per offender is also used to inform the national indicator to reduce reconviction rates on Scotland Performs, the Scottish Government National Performance Framework.

Further information on Crime and Justice statistics within Scotland can be accessed here.