Public perceptions of sentencing in Scotland

The Scottish Sentencing Council has published a new report exploring public knowledge and attitudes towards sentencing in Scotland, which was carried out by Ipsos MORI.

The author(s)

  • Carolyn Black Ipsos MORI Scotland
  • Rachel Ormston Ipsos MORI Scotland
  • Rachel Warren Ipsos MORI Scotland
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Ipsos MORI Scotland surveyed a representative sample of 1000 Scottish adults to better understand public knowledge of and attitudes to sentencing in criminal cases.

Key findings include:

  • a majority of the public (56%) think that sentences handed out by the Scottish Courts are too lenient
  • but when asked about the sentence they thought ought to be given in a number of specific cases, the most common answers tended to be broadly in line with the sentences likely to be imposed in practice
  • people tend to over-estimate the proportion of sentences that result in a prison term (the average estimate was 30%, compared with the actual 2017-18 figure of 14%)
  • the public is sceptical about the effectiveness of community sentences as a deterrent measure - 48% think they do not reduce reoffending

The report is available from the Scottish Sentencing Council website.

The author(s)

  • Carolyn Black Ipsos MORI Scotland
  • Rachel Ormston Ipsos MORI Scotland
  • Rachel Warren Ipsos MORI Scotland

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