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1307.6 - Tasmanian State and Regional Indicators, Mar 2009  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/04/2009   
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Image: Crime and JusticeCRIME AND JUSTICE


HIGHER COURTS DEFENDANTS

The following information relates to defendants who were adjudicated, i.e. finalised via a plea of guilty or a decision by a judge as to their guilt or innocence of the final charges laid.

In 2007 in Tasmania, there were 446 defendants adjudicated by higher courts, an increase of 2.1% on the 437 defendants in 2006. 'Acts intended to cause injury' represented 28.0% of total cases, followed by 'sexual assaults and related offences' (15.9%) and 'illicit drug offences' (14.8%).


Case characteristics, Tasmania 2007
GRAPH: Case characteristics, Tasmania 2007


OFFENCE CATEGORIES


In 2007 in Tasmania, most offence categories recorded a decline. The decreases were: motor vehicle theft by 26.4%, sexual assaults by 18.0%, unlawful entry with intent by 4.0%, assaults by 1.6%, and robbery, also by 1.6%. There were 6 cases of murder and 7 cases of attempted murder in 2007 compared to 4 and 6 respectively in 2006. Because the number of murders is usually so small, it is not meaningful to make year to year comparisons, and the data is not included in the graph below.


OFFENCE CATEGORY, Tasmania, 2007, percentage change from 2006
GRAPH: Offence category, Tasmania, 2007, percentage change from 2006


PRISON SENTENCING CHARACTERISTICS


In 2007, there were 402 prisoners sentenced into detention in Tasmania, an increase of 4.4% on the 385 sentenced in 2006. Of the total sentenced, 40.0% were sentenced to one to five years detention, 28.6% to under one year and 13.7% to ten years and over. The median period of detention was 2.5 years compared to 2.3 years in 2006.


NEW PRISON SENTENCES(a), Tasmania, 2005-2007
Graph: New Prison Sentences(a), Tasmania, 2005-2007


PRISONERS


In 2007 in Tasmania, the number of prisoners increased by 3.1% to 528 from 512 in 2006. Of all prisoners, females represented 6.1%, and indigenous persons 12.7%. There were 63.4% prisoners who had a prior imprisonment record and 23.9% of all prisoners were remandees.


PRISONER CHARACTERISTICS

2003
2004
2005
2006
2007

All prisoners (no.)
453
447
551
512
528
Mean age (years)
33.5
34.0
34.6
34.9
35.0
Females (%)
5.3
4.9
5.1
7.4
6.1
Indigenous (%)
11.7
13.2
12.7
10.4
12.7
Known prior imprisonment (%)
58.7
67.8
65.3
66.8
63.4
Remandees (%)
21.6
15.2
23.8
24.8
23.9

Source: Prisoners in Australia (cat.no. 4517.0)


LEGAL AID

The Legal Aid Commission provides legal services to the Tasmanian community through grants of legal aid, free legal advice and minor assistance, duty solicitor services, and community education and information.

In 2007, there were 7,848 applications for legal assistance in Tasmania, an increase of 4.9% on 7,478 requests in 2006. The majority of these 2007 applications (72.0%) were for criminal matters.

The Legal Aid Commission in 2007 approved 6,759 applications, an increase of 12.5% on approved cases in 2006. At the same time, 1,001 cases were refused, representing a decrease of 23.6% from 2006.


APPLICATIONS FOR LEGAL ASSISTANCE, Tasmania, 2004-2007


Graph: Applications for Legal Assistance, Tasmania, 2004-2007


TASMANIAN OMBUDSMAN


The Ombudsman's role is to investigate and help to resolve complaints about the administrative actions of government departments, councils and public authorities.

In 2006-07, the Tasmanian ombudsman received 63 complaints against local governments, a significant decrease on the 166 complaints in 2005-06. Most of the complaints were against local governments in Greater Hobart-Southern region (31), followed by Northern (18) and Mersey-Lyell (14). There were 227 complaints against the Tasmanian state government in 2006-07 compared to 253 in 2005-06.

In 2006-07, the Tasmanian ombudsman closed 344 cases. Of these, 152 were included in the category of 'no defective administration' (cases resolved at either the preliminary inquiry stage or which proceed through to an investigation). The next biggest category of cases (108) was 'declined' (complaints that do not meet the threshold required for acceptance by the Ombudsman). There were 43 cases which were 'partly/fully substantiated' (complaints where the Ombudsman considers that the administrative action of the public authority are not appropriate or reasonable) and 41 cases were 'discontinued' (cases that do not progress because the complainant does not provide additional information to identify the issue or complaint adequately).


CLOSED COMPLAINTS TO OMBUDSMAN by reason for closure, 2006-07
Graph: Number of complaints by reason for closure, 2006-07


SOURCES

Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) (ABS cat. no. 1216.0)

Corrective Services, Australia (ABS cat. no. 4512.0)

Criminal Courts, Australia (ABS cat. no. 4513.0)

Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania Annual Reports 2004 to 2007

Ombudsman Tasmania Ombudsman Annual Report 2002-2003 to 2006-2007

Prisoners in Australia (ABS cat. no. 4517.0)

Recorded Crime - Victims, Australia (ABS cat. no. 4510.0)

Further information can also be found on the Crime and Justice Statistics Theme Page of the ABS website.



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