Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson has welcomed new figures that show the percentage of offenders who are reconvicted within a year has dropped to an 18-year low.
The reconviction statistics also show that people who were given a community sentence are less likely to reoffend than those who served a prison sentence.
The figures, which were released by Scotland’s Chief Statistician this week, show that 28.2 per cent of offenders were reconvicted within a year in 2014-15 – down from a high of 32.9 per cent in 2002-2003. The percentage has declined every year since 2008-09.
The reconviction rate among those who were released from a custodial sentence of less than six months was double the rate among those given a community payback order (CPO).
Justice Secretary Mr Matheson said: “These figures show we are continuing to make good progress on tackling reoffending – a key goal of this government’s justice strategy.
“The continued fall in reconvictions is down to hard work from partners across the Scottish justice system who are working together to prevent offending and keep our communities safe.
“The statistics also provide further evidence that robust community sentences, and CPOs in particular, are more effective at reducing reoffending than short custodial sentences.
“I want to see a Scotland where people are held to account for their offending behaviour but are also given the opportunity to address the underlying causes of that behaviour and become contributing citizens in their communities.”