Date lodged: 19 December 2018
To ask the Scottish Government for what reasons there has been a reported rise recently in the Scottish prison population.
Answered by: Humza Yousaf 8 January 2019
On Sunday 6th January 2019, the population in custody was 7,845. Prison population numbers are impacted by short term fluctuations and change over time.
There are a complex range of factors from across the Scottish justice system that impact the prison population, including changes in the number and nature of offences being prosecuted, sentencing decisions, decisions made by the Parole Board, releases on Home Detention Curfew (HDC), and changes to early release rules. The recent changes made to the eligibility criteria for prisoners receiving HDC has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of people being released under HDC arrangements. On Sunday 6 th January 2019 the population on HDC was 128. Prior to the recent reviews of HDC, the population on HDC rarely dropped below 270.
The Scottish Prison Service continue to respond to the increasing prison population effectively to ensure the security and safety of Scotland’s prisons are maintained.