This briefing explores why the use of community sentences in England and Wales has declined over the last ten years while it has increased in Scotland.
Our research shows that community sentences have consistently reduced re-offending in both England and Wales and in Scotland over the past ten years. Despite this success, there has been a 24% decrease in the number of community sentences in England and Wales over the past ten years, with much of the decline occurring since 2011.
In contrast in Scotland, there has been an 18% increase in the use of community sentences over the last ten years. Much of this increase has occurred since 2011. Community sentences now make up nearly 20% of all sentences passed by Scottish courts, compared to only 12% ten years ago.
This briefing looks at explanations for the change in the use of community sentences in the two jurisdictions, the relationship between the use of community sentences and short-term prison in the two jurisdictions; and the impact of community sentences on re-offending in the two jurisdictions.
This effort to look across borders aims to understand what is going on and to see if there are lessons that can be shared between the two jurisdictions.