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Wishaw Has Produced The Most Young Criminals
A Lanarkshire town has produced more young male criminals in the past four years than any other place in Scotland, new figures have revealed.
Wishaw is home to 113 under-21s who ended up behind bars between 2012 and 2015, postcode data from prison chiefs shows.
It was closely followed by the G72 postcode – covering Blantyre and Cambuslang, also in Lanarkshire – which produced 90 convicts during the period.
The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) said the figures reflected the link between offending and deprivation. A spokesman said: “We’ve done previous research that indicates a strong correlation between people in prison and deprivation.
“There has been considerable effort put into preventing young people becoming involved with the prison system. The number of people in custody has declined significantly – by about a third in the past six years.”
The statistics – accessed under Freedom of Information laws – reveal the home postcodes of men aged 16 to 21 sent to Polmont Young Offenders Institution, near Falkirk in Stirlingshire. The facility is the only one for young male offenders in Scotland and sentences range from six months to life, with the average being between two and four years.
The data does not include details of women of the same age, who are mostly detained at Cornton Vale in Stirling.
The Wishaw postcode also recorded the single worst year for young offenders when 32 were detained there in 2014.
In 2005, a study by former Barlinnie prison governor Roger Houchin showed how many people were sent to jail from each of Scotland’s 1,200 local authority wards. He found that half of all people in jail came from the poorest 155 council wards.
Professor Nancy Louks, chief executive of charity Families Outside, which supports the relatives of prisoners, said: “Many families live in the most deprived areas before, after, and during prison. It’s not just a one-off thing. People are struggling with relationships, jobs, a whole range of issues.”