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Freed prisoners make swift return

The statistics show 6,840 offenders were released from prison in 2002
Nearly half of all prisoners released from Scotland's jails are back behind bars within two years, statistics show.

Figures from the Scottish Prison Service show 6,840 offenders were freed from custody in 2002, with 6,458 men and 382 women liberated.

The SPS said 48% of those released were back in custody within two years and 58% were behind bars within six months.

Men were more likely to return to jail, with 49% returning within two years, compared to 39% of women.

A higher proportion of young offenders (58%) returned to custody within two years, compared to 46% of adult prisoners.

Behind bars

The figures for those released in 2002 also revealed that men were more likely to end up back in jail after serving a sentence, with 49% returning within two years, compared to 39% of women.

Most of those who returned did so within just six months of their release.

A total of 52% of those who returned to prison did so within this time, while 76% were back in custody within a year of their release.

I'm concerned the Scottish Executive's half-baked measures on early release will not solve the problem
Annabel Goldie
Scottish Tory leader

Those most likely to return to prison were those who had committed crimes of dishonesty - 68% of the men jailed for this were back in prison within two years, as were 48% of the women.

Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie said the figures illustrated the need for a comprehensive rehabilitation programme to reduce re-offending.

Ms Goldie said: "No doubt some people will use the statistics as 'proof' that prison does not work, but this is simply not true.

"International studies have shown that prison works as a punishment and as a deterrent.

"I'm concerned the Scottish Executive's half-baked measures on early release will not solve the problem, because prisoners are still potentially going to be let out halfway through their sentence."

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