Reconviction Statistics 2019-20

From: Scottish Government
Published: Tue Jun 27 2023

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

The latest reconviction statistics for the 2019-20 offender cohort have been published today by Scotland's Chief Statistician.

This is the first year that reconviction data affected by the COVID-19 pandemic has been published. The impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the justice system and therefore also these statistics means we would advise heavy caution in using the data presented in this publication. As a result, the data for the 2019-20 cohort is not considered to be indicative of longer-term trends.

Reconviction rates have decreased from 2018-19 across almost all groups.

The reconviction rate, which is the percentage of offenders who are reconvicted in a year, was 24.1% in 2019-20, which is a 4.5 percentage point decrease from 28.6% in 2018-19. The average number of reconvictions, a measure of how often offenders are reconvicted, also decreased over the same period from 0.51 to 0.40.

Prior to this pandemic-affected publication, there has been a long-term trend of reconviction rates gradually decreasing. Between 2009-10 and 2018-19, the reconviction rate has fallen by 2.0%, from 30.6% to 28.6%.

As in previous years, males are reconvicted more often, on average, than females. In 2019-20, the average number of reconvictions per offender for males was 0.41, which was higher than the value of 0.36 for females. Both measures of reconvictions for males and females were lower than last year.

As in previous years, offenders who committed a crime of dishonesty had the highest reconviction rate (40.2% in 2019-20), compared to offenders that committed another type of crime. Offenders who committed a sexual crime had the lowest (10.8% in 2019-20). The type of crime committed is one of a range of factors associated with the likelihood of being reconvicted, including the sentence received, offending history, and characteristics of individual offenders.

Although lower than other crimes, offenders who committed a sexual crime saw an increase in the reconviction rate from the previous year by 0.2 percentage points (Table 6), the only increase for court disposals in this publication. One potential reason for this increase is that the cohort size for this crime is relatively small, meaning a small change would have a greater effect on percentages compared to larger cohorts. The latest change also follows a decrease of 1 percentage point the previous year.

In 2019-20, 5.5% of offenders with an index domestic abuse crime or offence were reconvicted for a further domestic abuse crime or offence, and 15.0% were reconvicted for any type of crime or offence.

Offenders released from a custodial sentence had an average number of reconvictions per offender of 0.70 in 2019-20, which was 16% lower than 0.83 in 2018-19.

Community Payback Orders (CPOs) are the most commonly used community sentence. The reconviction rate was 25.1% in 2019-20, a decrease from the stable rates of previous years. The cohort size for CPOs had its first increase from the previous year since 2014-15, although still the second smallest since 2012-13.

15% of individuals given a non-court disposal by the police in 2019-20 (such as a warning or fine) received another non-court disposal within a year.

Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff - more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at:


The full statistical publication is available at:

This publication contains detailed analyses of reconviction rates and the average number of reconvictions per offender by: offender characteristics, sentence type, crime type, and local authority.

  • The reconviction rate, is defined as the proportion of offenders who are reconvicted within a year after being released from a custodial sentence or given a non-custodial sentence.
  • The average number of reconvictions per offender, is the number of times, on average, that offenders in a cohort are reconvicted within a year after being released from a custodial sentence or given a non-custodial sentence.

Users of these data on reconviction rates for planning and targeting of resources include: the Scottish Government, Local Authorities, the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service, Police Scotland, and Community Justice Scotland.

Company: Scottish Government

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