The number of criminals in Scotland who reoffend after being released from prison has hit a 19-year low – with figures continuing to drop below England and Wales.
The report issued by Scotland’s Chief Statistician also revealed that community payback orders (CPOs), which usually involve unpaid community work, more effectively end a cycle of reoffending than prison time does. Scotland’s reoffending rate dropped from 32.4 per cent in 2006/7 to 27 per cent in 2015/16. The average number of reconvictions per offender also fell by 22 per cent. Conversely, nearly half of people with past convictions in England and Wales reoffend within twelve months. The prison population has risen by 82 per cent in the past 30 years. The highest imprisonment rate in Europe is found here, at 145 per 100,000 people (Scotland comes second at 138).
Brief THREAD on today's short debate in the House of Lords on rehabilitation and safety in #prisons initiated by Big Issue founder and crossbench peer Lord Bird #justice#criminaljusticehttps://t.co/kCyCbkS9ffpic.twitter.com/LFKvfn6GOW
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Scotland has introduced schemes like the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) to carry out rehabilitation work with ex-offenders in an attempt to reduce reoffending. Another endeavor is Street & Arrow, a Glasgow-based social enterprise serving high-quality street food and employing people recently released from custodial sentences. The programme, which features mentoring and round-the-clock support, has a 100 per cent success rate in preventing reoffending.
Niven Rennie, VRU director, said: “A 22 per cent reduction in the rate of reconvictions over the last decade shows we’re on the right path, but every crime comes at a cost to society and individuals so we must continue to follow the evidence of what works. Prevention is better than cure and Scotland is leading the world in its public health approach to violence by treating it as a disease which can be cured.
Scotland’s justice secretary Humza Yousaf said: “Scotland has continued to reduce the number of people who reoffend, implementing a clear focus on rehabilitation, working alongside partners in local government, the third sector and Scottish Prison Service, to help many people with convictions turn their lives around.