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Prisoner numbers rise as crime falls

The Scottish Government has published the latest prison statistics, revealing that in the past year prisoner numbers increased by 4% to an annual daily average of 8,178.

Other key findings include:

• Young offenders dropped by eight percent
• The number of prisoners on remand rose by 11%
• The female prison population increased by eight percent.

 “Crime is going down in this country and is now at its lowest level since 1975, yet the number of prisoners has increased by two thirds over the past two decades. These figures confirm what we already know – that without action the prison population will continue to grow,” said Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.

“We are clear that prison remains the only place for locking up serious and dangerous criminals and keeping them off our streets, but we can’t keep packing more and more low level offenders into our jails and giving them free bed and board,” he added. “Tackling this problem will be a challenge, but this Government has introduced a number of important measures to help reverse this trend.