Imprisonment as a Sentence

 Latest Prison data for Scotland

Prisoner Population

Scottish prisoner population as at Friday 22 June 2012

 Category  Figures
 Untried Male Adults 1119
 Untried Female Adults 68
 Untried Male Young Offenders 136
 Untried Female Young Offenders 6
 Sentenced Male Adults 5678
 Sentenced Female Adults 336
 Sentenced Male Young Offenders 525
 Sentenced Female Young Offenders 25
 Recalled Life Prisoners 84
 Convicted Prisoners Awaiting Sentencing 206
 Prisoners Awaiting Deportation 10
 Under 16′s 0
 Civil Prisoners 1
 All Scotland Total in Custody 8194
 Home Detention Curfew (HDC) 375
 Overall Total 8569

Source: Scottish Prison Service Website

The Scottish Prison Population Figures 2011-2012 were published on 29th June 2012:

Key points Prison statistics and population projections Scotland 2011 – 2012:


• After the slight dip observed last year, the prison population has increased by 4 per cent to an annual daily average of 8,178 for 2011-12. This represents a return to the overall rate of growth observed over the past decade, and population levels remain very high in relation to the current design capacity of about 7,840.

• The current increase is driven by a marked increase of 11 per cent in the adult remand population and a somewhat smaller increase of 4 per cent for the adult direct sentenced population.

• The total sentenced population (including recalls) has increased by 3 per cent, primarily due to marked increases in sentences between three months and two years (9 per cent overall), and more modest increases for the life sentence and recall populations which have increased by 5 and 3 per cent respectively.

• During 2011-12, the average daily population increased by 4 per cent to 7,710 for men, while the female population increased by 8 per cent to 468. The young offender sentenced population showed a marked drop of 8 per cent to 556.

• Receptions tend to show some year on year variation: the overall trend has been downward since 2006-07, although the most recent figures show an increase of 3 per cent for both remand and sentenced receptions

• The latest set of prison population projections suggest that the daily prison population in Scotland will increase from an annual average of 8,300 in 2012-13 to 9,500 by 2020-21. It should be noted that the projections are based on past trends and do not explicitly model the potential impact of future changes in policy or practice on the prison population.

From: Statistical Bulletin, Crime and Justice Series, 29th June 2012, Scottish Government, Edinburgh.


Please also see Prison Statistics Scotland 2010-2011 for analysis of the prisoner data outlined below.

In 2010 Scotland continued to make a greater use of imprisonment than ever before. In
2009/10 the average daily prison population in Scotland reached a new high of 7,964 30,
compared with 7,835 in 2008/09, the highest annual figure ever recorded.
The prison population is often expressed as a rate per 100,000 of the population. In Scotland
we now imprison 154.1 per 100,000 of our population.

Women in Prison
However, there continue to be sharp differences between men and women. The number of women
in prison has increased disproportionately by 106% compared to the rise in male prisoners
of 33% over the last ten years (2000/01 to 2009/10). The average daily population of women in prison in 2009/10 was 424.

For further information please see our women’s offending page

Prison Population
The average daily number of prisoners on remand fell by 9% to 1,522, past the peak of the
last three years. The average daily number of young offenders (aged under 21) remanded in
custody similarly fell by 9% to 305.
The number of people in prison, who were there because they were recalled whilst on supervision
or licence, continued to increase (a 4% rise to 621), which has grown nearly three-fold over the
ten year period from 2000/01.
The average daily number of very short term prisoners, that is those sentenced to less than
six months, continued a gradual fall, by 12% to 439. However, medium term sentences have
risen: sentences in the six months to two years range increased 13% to 1,768 in 2009/10, the
highest recorded, reflecting a 67% rise over the decade; while sentences of two years and less
than four years increased by 10% last year to 1,211, also the highest on record. The number
of long-term prisoners, those sentenced to four years or more remained roughly the same.

Supervised Bail

The Scottish Government published “Experiences of Supervised Bail in Scotland ” with data on supervised bail. The report outlines a series of interviews with bailees; in its conclusions it states “the findings clearly show that supervised bail can have a positive effect on the lives of bailees, including helping them to reduce or stop offending while on bail, and potentially also long term”


30 Prison Statistics Scotland, 2009/10. Statistical Bulletin. Crime and Justice Series Scottish Government, Edinburgh, 20
December 2010.




31 Home Detention Curfew: “From July 2006, prisoners became eligible for early release from custody on Home Detention Curfew (HDC). … This allows short term prisoners assessed as presenting a low risk of reoffending, to be released on licence between two weeks and four months early. The maximum period was extended to six months in April 2008, and the scheme extended to certain categories of long-term prisoners. Offenders are subject to electronically monitored restrictions on their movements for up to 12 hours per day for the remainder of their sentence. The primary aim of HDC is to facilitate reintegration of prisoners back into the community prior to final release. However, releasing prisoners early on HDC has also resulted in some degree of reduction in the average daily prison population.” (Notes and definitions section,
paragraph 40, in Prison Scotland Statistics 2009/10).
32 These figures differ very slightly from those previously published due to cleansing of data.
33 Sources: Data extracted from Prison Statistics Scotland series and Scottish Prison Service Annual Reports and Accounts
2006-07 to 2009-10. [SCCCJ 2011]

Two welcome trends noted last year continued to improve:
First: the number in prison on any one day for not paying a fine continues to go down, from 46 in
2006/07 to nine last year. The number of people, who went through the prison system because
they had not paid their fines fell, to 1,153 last year. Ten years ago, in 2000/01 it was at 7,003.
The value of average fine outstanding was £536 and the length of the average sentence imposed
was 15 days.
Second: there has been a further reduction in the use of prison for children, through the use
of unruly certificates. In 2009/10 the number halved to five, with all of the male children
admitted being aged 15. The average time in prison also halved to six days. A provision in
the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 should see this practice ended during
Offenders from the cities of Glasgow and Dundee represent a disproportionately large
group in the prison population. While the imprisonment rate on 30 June 2009 (with 8,183
in prison) was 191 per 100,000 for the 16+ age group in Scotland, there were 351 per
100,000 from Glasgow. These 1,725 prisoners represented 21% of the prison population
while Glasgow has 11% of the total Scottish population over 16 years of age. Similarly,
Dundee City sent 351 per 100,000 to prison (of its 16+ age group). In 2009/10, 20,371 people
were released from prison. One fifth of these went back to an address in the Glasgow City
Community Justice Authority area.

International Comparisons

Imprisonment rates are usually measured per 100,000 of the general population. Scotland
finds itself second from the top of West European imprisonment rates with a rate of 158 in 2009.

[Note: the figures are taken from Prison Scotland Statistics and use data from the International
Centre for Prison Studies' world prison brief. The ICPS is hosted by the Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex.

The information is not completely comparable, as it uses a spread of data from July 2008 to June 2010].

The latest data for June 2012 show that Scotland has a prison population rate of 154 people per 100,000 population (Data complied by the International Centre for Prison Studies)

In the last 20 years, Scotland has gone from a rate of 103 people imprisoned per 100,000 population to a rate of 154 per 100,000 population.

Ministry responsible Scottish Executive
Prison administration Scottish Prison Service
Contact address Calton House, 5 Redheughs Rigg, GB-Edinburgh EH12 9HW
Telephone/fax/website tel: +44 131 244 8522
fax: +44 131 244 8738
Head of prison administration

(and title)
Colin McConnell

Chief Executive
Prison population total

(including pre-trial detainees / remand prisoners)

at 1.6.2012 (national prison administration)
Prison population rate

(per 100,000 of national population)

based on an estimated national population of 5.28 million at beginning of June 2012 (from Office for National Statistics figures)
Pre-trial detainees / remand prisoners

(percentage of prison population)

(1.6.2012 – 16.4% untried, 2.5% convicted unsentenced)
Female prisoners

(percentage of prison population)

Juveniles / minors / young prisoners

incl. definition (percentage of prison population)

(1.6.2012 – under 18)
Foreign prisoners

(percentage of prison population)

Number of establishments /


Official capacity of prison system 7,844

(1.6.2012 – design capacity less 4 places temporarily out of use)
Occupancy level (based on official


Recent prison population trend

(year, prison population total, prison population rate)
1992 5,257 (103)
1995 5,626 (110)
1998 6,018 (118)
2001 6,137 (121)
2004 6,805 (134)
2007 7,291 (142)
2010 7,806 (150)

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