Scotland's prison numbers fall for first time in decade
Scotland's prison population has fallen for the first time in a decade, according to the latest figures.
Official statistics show the annual daily average for 2010-11 was 7,853, down 1% from the previous year.
However, the Scottish government said despite the slight drop prison levels remained very high.
There has also been an 18% reduction in the number of people allowed home with an electronic tag before the end of their sentence.
Projections published in March 2011 suggested a longer-term upward trend, with the prison population reaching 9,500 by 2019-20.
The number of people being held in prisons in Scotland has risen steadily since 2000-01.
The government said the current dip was primarily due to marked drops in the young offender population.
The number of young offenders on remand fell by 14% last year, while those there on direct sentences was down 17%.
The sentenced population has dropped by 1% overall, reaching 6,378 in 2010-11.
There has been a drop in prison levels across most sentence groups, however the number of people held on life sentences has increased by 5%.
During 2010-11, the average daily population for men fell by 2%, to 7,419.
The female prison population, however, rose by 3% to 435.