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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-02112: Claire Baker (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 23 August 2016

To ask the Scottish Government how many young people convicted of an offence in each of the last five years stated that (a) alcohol and (b) substance misuse was as a cause of their offending behaviour.

Answered by: Michael Matheson 7 September 2016

I have asked Colin McConnell, Chief Executive of the Scottish Prison Service, to respond. His response is as follows: There is no data held by the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) which can categorically attribute alcohol or substance misuse as a cause of offending behaviour in young people 21 years of age or under held in custody. SPS does collect general data on alcohol and substance misuse among young people (16 to 21) held in custodial care, gathered every second year through self-report in the Prisoner Survey Series. Through self-report, young people do admit that they have been either drunk or under the influence of drugs at the time they committed the offence. SPS does not hold any information on the use of alcohol or drugs by young people 21 years of age or under who have been given community disposals by the Scottish courts.

Information over the last five years indicates that alcohol use at the time of the commissioning of the offence has been declining from 78% in 2011 to 68% in 2013 to 60% in 2015. The overall comparator for the rest of the SPS estate (adults over 21) has also declined from 50% in 2011 to 45% in 2013 to 41% in 2015.

Substance misuse at the time of the commissioning of the offence has, by and large, remained static at 54% in 2011 to 49% in 2013 to 55% in 2015. The overall comparator for the rest of the SPS estate (adults over 21) has also remained static at 44% in 2011 to 39% in 2013 to 40% in 2015.

Table 1

“I was drunk at the time of my offence”

 

2015

2013

2011

Young people

(21 or under in custody)

60

68

78

Overall comparator (adults over 21)

41

45

50

Table 2

“I was under the influence of drugs at time of my offence”

 

2015

 

2013

2011

Young people

(21 or under in custody)

55

49

54

Overall comparator (adults over 21)

40

39

44

Source: SPS Prisoner Surveys 2015; 2013; 2011