§ Sir Robert Smith
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what research he has(a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the recidivism rates of custodial and non-custodial sentences in Scotland; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. McLeish
A study of recidivism rates among a sample of offenders released from custodial sentences "Predicting Recidivism in a Scottish Prison Sample" was 647W published in 1997. A study of life sentence prisoners has been commissioned and will include an analysis of reconvictions.
A number of studies which aim to evaluate the impact of non-custodial disposals have been commissioned. Evaluations of two community based intervention programmes for persistent young offenders were commissioned in 1995 and will consider reconviction rates as part of the evaluation. An evaluation of pilot programmes for diversion from prosecution to social work and other services was commissioned earlier this year and will assess the effectiveness of the programmes in changing offender behaviour and reducing re-offending.
Evaluation of effectiveness will continue to be an important part of the criminal justice research programme.