Scottish Government
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Youth reoffending at record low

14 year drop welcomed.

Reconviction rates in Scotland are now at their lowest level in 14 years, statistics out today show.

Statistics published in Reconviction Rates in Scotland: 2010-11 Offender Cohort, show:

  • There has been a marked fall in the one year reconviction rate for the under 21 age group since 1997-98, down by over eight percentage points over the period from 42.4 to 34.1 per cent. This represents the lowest-ever recorded level.
  • The one year reconviction rate and the one year reconviction frequency rate for all offences are now at their lowest level each over the last 14 years.
  • The one year reconviction rate for offenders given Drug Treatment and Testing Orders (DTTO) has fallen by nearly 14 percentage points over the last eight years.
  • The one year reconviction rate for those sentenced to a prison sentence of three months or less is 59.8 per cent. This compares to 31.6 per cent for those given a community sentence.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said:

"The marked fall in reconvictions among all groups, but particularly people under 21, is testament to work done by our police, courts and other justice partners across Scotland to get offenders back onto the straight and narrow and stop them from committing further crimes upon release.

“Prison is and always will be the right place for serious and dangerous offenders, but what all the evidence shows, and what today’s statistics reinforce, is that sending low level offenders out to pay back the community through manual labour, backed by work to address the underlying issues which fuel the crime, is far more effective.

"Today’s statistics build on the strong progress being made in Scotland's justice system, with recorded crime at a 39-year low, knife crime down, and a thousand extra officers protecting our communities, and serious criminals now being punished through the longest prison sentences in a decade. It is encouraging to see, but there will be no let up in our efforts to reduce crime even further.

“In April this year we announced almost £7.7m funding to establish a national network of mentoring schemes to tackle Scotland’s reoffending rates. This funding, which will be invested over the next two years, is being targeted towards prolific male offenders and women who are at risk of re-offending, ultimately working to further reduce reoffending levels and build an even safer Scotland for the future.”


The report carries two sets of figures: the reconviction rate and the reconviction frequency rate. The reconviction rate is the proportion of offenders who have re-offended within the last twelve months. The latter is the average number of reconvictions for every 100 offenders over the same period.

A full version of the publication is at

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