SPS Custodial History and Substance Misuse 2014

SPS Custodial History and Substance Misuse 2014

March 2014 SPS published the 14th Custodial and Substance Misuse Bulletin, which is published every two years. The information gathered in the document is based on census style survey sent to all Scottish prisoners across each of Scotland's 16 prisons, which had a response rate of 60%.

Key Findings:

  • Avg Age: 34 years old
  • 82% of prisoners were sentenced and 18% were untried
  • 94% of the population were males
  • 6% were females

Sentence Length:

  • 5% serving up to 90 days
  • 5% serving over 10 years
  • 11% Life sentences
  • 21% serving 3-12 months
  • 25% serving between 4-10years
  • 32% over 1 year up to 4 years

Drug Use:

There is a significant correlation between intensity of drug use and number of times someone had been in prison. Of those who had never been in prison before only 10% reported using drugs in the month prior to prison, while 50% of those with 10 sentences or more reported using drugs in the month prior to prison. One third of people serving 10 or more sentences committed their crime to get money for drugs and 60% of them reported that they were under the influence of drugs at the time of their offence. Drug use is significantly higher among all groups of female prisoners and the report notes that drugs is a much more significant problem in the community for women who end up in prison


There is a strong correlation between the number of times someone has been in prison and whether they had previously been in care. Of the 10 sentences or more cohort 52% had been in care as a child. They also were more likely to have witnessed violence as a child.

Read the full report here: SPS Custodial History  and Substance Misuse 2014