Three in ten offenders reconvicted within a year

MORE THAN a quarter of offenders commit another crime within 12 months despite reconviction rates being at their lowest level for 17 years, new figures show.

28 per cent of offenders were reconvicted within a year. Picture: TSPL

Figures published by Scotland’s chief statistician show 28 per cent of offenders were reconvicted within a year in 2013-14, compared to 32 per cent in 2004-05.

In the same period, the average number of reconvictions per offender decreased by around 16 per cent from 0.61 to 0.51.

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The declines were largely driven by decreases in reconvictions for offenders under the age of 25, with reconvictions for those over 30 on the rise.

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 ten years.

Justice secretary Michael Matheson, said: “[These] figures show we are continuing to make good progress on tackling reoffending – a key goal of this government’s justice strategy.

“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.”

Campaigners have called on the Scottish Government to introduce a presumption against custodial sentences of less than one year.

Lib Dem justice spokesman Liam McArthur said: “Too many prisoners struggle to break free of the vicious cycle of offending and imprisonment.

“We know that community sentences are twice as effective as short-term imprisonment in terms of preventing re-offending. We need to see their use increased. That is why Liberal Democrats have called for a presumption against short-term sentences and increased use of community sentences.”