Scottish Liberal Democrats have said that SNP ministers must be unrelenting in their efforts to drive down the £3bn cost of reoffending to Scotland each year.
The call comes after figures published today showed that seventeen per cent (or 18,231) of all convictions in 2013-14 resulted in a main penalty of a community sentence. These have increased by 5 percentage points since 2004-05.
Despite this increase, around two thirds of offenders receiving custodial sentences were sentenced for a period of six months or less.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP said:
“Whilst a growing number of convictions result in the main penalty of a community sentence, all too many offenders are being served short sentences of six months or less. This will do little to drive down the £3bn cost of reoffending to Scotland each year. We know that offenders released from short custodial sentences have more than double the average number of reconvictions compared to those given community sentences.
“Many prisons are struggling to cope with huge populations. This strain on resources has a knock on effect on effective rehabilitation. It makes sense to invest in community-based programmes that are working for offenders and for the communities which they are released into.
“SNP ministers must be unrelenting in their efforts to drive down the cost of reoffending to society."