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MacAskill Targets Further Reduction in Scottish Reconviction Rate

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill says ‘there can be no let-up’ in efforts being made to reduce the number of Scotland’s criminals repeat offending.

While Government statistics, published this week, show the reconviction rate in Scotland has fallen by 0.9 percentage points between 2010-11 and 2011-12, and by 3.7 percentage points over the last decade, the Justice Secretary is keen to build on this progress.

With the aim being for this trend to continue, over the next two years, the Scottish Government is investing approximately £7.7 million to support offender-mentoring services. Two such services include ‘New Routes’ aimed at helping young prolific male offenders and ‘Shine’, which offers support services to female offenders. It is hoped this further investment will benefit those most at risk of reoffending while helping to make Scotland a safer place.

In addition to a reduced reconviction rate, the publication, Reconviction Rates in Scotland 2011-12, identified further encouraging signs for Scotland. The key findings are listed as follows:

  • Between 2002-03 and 2011-12, the average number of reconvictions for offenders under 21 decreased by almost a third from 0.88 to 0.61. For 21 to 25 year-olds, there was a decrease of more than a quarter from 0.74 to 0.54.
  • The average number of reconvictions per offender in Scotland decreased by nearly 4% between 2010-11 and 2011-12 from 0.55 to 0.53, while the reconviction rate fell from 30.1% to 29.2%. Since 2002-03, the average number of reconvictions per offender has decreased by 17% from 0.64 to 0.53 and the reconviction rate has fallen from 32.9% to 29.2%.

Commenting on the latest statistics, Mr MacAskill said: “I cautiously welcome the continued fall in the reconviction rate, including the 17% decrease in the average number of reconvictions between 2002-03 and 2011-12. I particularly welcome the fall in reconvictions among under-21s. This shows that our early intervention initiative – the whole systems approach –which aims to tackle all aspects of youth offending from low level crime to the most serious and harmful offences and to stop young people going down the wrong path by identifying problem behaviour at the earliest opportunity, is starting to have a real impact.”

He continued: “Indeed, today’s figures, coupled with recorded crime in Scotland now being at its lowest level in almost 40 years, are a testament to the commitment of the police, courts, education and social services and other justice partners who are working hard to address offending and its underlying causes. However, I also fully recognise the devastating impact which reoffending can have on the victims of crime and their families, and that’s why there can be no let-up in our co-ordinated and concerted efforts to further reduce reoffending and make our communities safer.”

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