Australian Bureau of Statistics
4512.0 - Corrective Services, Australia, Dec 2009
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/03/2010
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3 Although national standards and classifications are used in the compilation of these statistics, some discrepancies remain between the states and territories. These are due to legislative and procedural differences between jurisdictions and the way that these differences are reflected in agencies' administrative data systems. As part of its quality assurance strategy, the ABS is working with corrective services agencies to minimise the effect of these differences.
4 The reference period for average daily prisoner population statistics and sentenced reception counts is the complete reference month. The reference date for all other figures is the first day of the reference month. However, not all states and territories report strictly according to this 'first day of the month' rule:
5 Calculation of figures for the entire quarter and entire year varies depending on the counting unit and method of counting prisoners:
6 The scope of the statistics in this publication includes all persons remanded or sentenced to adult custodial corrective services agencies (including Work Outreach Camps and Community Custody Centres in Queensland), or who are serving adult community-based orders in each state and territory in Australia.
7 Counts of prisoners in the following custodial facilities are included in the collection:
8 The prisons and community corrections collection excludes the following custodial facilities:
9 This collection includes counts of persons remanded or sentenced to adult custody facilities, or directed to serve community based orders administered by adult corrective services agencies. In all states and territories except Queensland, persons are considered adults if aged 18 years and over. In Queensland persons are considered adults if aged 17 years and over. The vast majority of persons counted in the collection are adults. However, juveniles may be included in exceptional circumstances.
10 Since December 2004, the Kariong Juvenile Correctional Centre in New South Wales has operated under the authority of adult corrective services. The population at Kariong Juvenile Correctional Centre may include adult persons as well as juveniles. New South Wales includes juveniles based in Kariong in this collection, however, this facility accounts for less than 0.5% of the New South Wales prisoner population.
11 Federal prisoners include those persons charged and sentenced under a Commonwealth statute, and those persons who are charged and sentenced under the laws of another country but transferred to an Australian prison to serve their sentence under the International Transfer of Prisoners Act 1997 (Cwlth). To give practical effect to this legislation in Australia, the framework was introduced in January 2003. For the purposes of this publication, federal sentenced prisoners are those persons who are recognised by the Criminal Law Division of the Australian Government Attorney-General's Department as having been charged and sentenced under a Commonwealth statute, or transferred from another country to serve their sentence in Australia.
12 With the exception of Victoria and Tasmania, community-based corrections includes those persons with breached or suspended orders.
13 Statistics in this publication are derived from information provided to the ABS from administrative records held by corrective services agencies within each state and territory. Statistics on federal prisoners are derived from records kept by the Criminal Law Division of the Australian Government Attorney-General's Department.
14 Statistics for persons held in custody are presented by the state or territory in which they were held and therefore may not be the sentencing jurisdiction. The only exception to this are data for federal sentenced prisoners. These are presented by the state or territory in which they were sentenced, not where they were held in custody.
15 Sentenced prisoners who have other offences that are unsentenced are counted as sentenced. Prisoners may be unsentenced because they are awaiting the outcome of their trial, convicted but awaiting sentence, or awaiting deportation.
16 If an offender has two or more different types of community-based orders operating simultaneously, then each order will be counted. If two or more community-based orders are of the same type, these orders together will only be counted as one order.
17 Imprisonment and community-based corrections rates enable comparisons of prisoner numbers to be made across states and territories. Prisoner and community-based corrections rates are expressed per 100,000 adult population. Imprisonment rates are calculated based on two different counting concepts (average daily and first day of the month), as a result there may be variations in imprisonment rates presented in this publication.
18 In this publication the population figures used in the calculation of rates are for persons aged 18 years and over for all states and territories except Queensland where the population is persons aged 17 years and over (see paragraph 9).
19 Rates for the total adult prisoner population and persons in community-based corrections are calculated using the estimated resident population (ERP) for each of the states and territories. All estimates for the Australian Capital Territory exclude Jervis Bay Territory. All estimates for Australia exclude the external territories of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Island. As the population changes over time the denominator used for the calculation of rates varies, depending on the reference period. The most current ERP data available at the time of publication are used to calculate rates as follows:
20 The ERP series are revised every five years to incorporate additional information available from the latest Census of Population and Housing. The rates per 100,000 adult persons presented in this issue have been calculated using different ERP counts as follows:
21 For population estimates and information on the methodology used to produce the ERP, see Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0).
Indigenous imprisonment rates
22 In the September quarter 2009 issue of this publication, Indigenous imprisonment rates for the September quarter 2009 were calculated using an incorrect Indigenous adult population estimates. The rates were calculated using the estimates and projections for the period 1991 to 2009 rather than using the updated population figures provided in Experimental Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 1991 to 2021 (cat. no. 3238.0). This was caused by a programming error. These rates have been revised (see Tables 14 and 16).
23 Rates for the Indigenous adult population are calculated using rebased estimates (for the period 1986 - 2006) and projections (2007 - 2021) of the Indigenous population. These data are based on data from the 2006 Census of Population and Housing and use assumptions about future fertility, paternity, life expectancy at birth and migration. For more information see Experimental Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 1991 to 2021 (cat. no. 3238.0).
24 The projections used in this publication are based on Series B projections for 30 June of the relevant calendar year. Series B is one of two main projection series (Series A and B) that have been published for the years 2007 to 2021. Both of these series assume an annual decline of 0.5% in fertility rates; an annual increase of 1% in paternity rates; constant interstate migration at levels observed in the 2006 Census; and zero net overseas migration with no arrivals and no departures. Further, two different assumptions were made about future Indigenous life expectancy at birth for Australia:
25 The impact of re-basing Indigenous imprisonment rate data using Series B projections, instead of the previous "low series" of projections, is minimal at the national level. Differences of no greater than 5% are seen in the state and territory data, and generally the result has been a decrease in the imprisonment rate. This is because the assumptions used by Series B result in higher population estimates and projections than those through the use of the previous "low series".
26 The decision to use Series B as the denominator in the calculation of Indigenous imprisonment rates followed consultation with the National Corrective Services Statistics Advisory Group and other stakeholders.
27 The ABS conducts an ongoing programme of quality assurance to monitor and improve the quality of Indigenous Status data in Corrective Services agencies (both custodial and community-based corrections). Whilst the ABS has published Indigenous status data in Corrective Services collections for a number of years, quality assurance is required to better understand the level of accuracy over time
28 The quality of the Indigenous status information collected and recorded in Corrective Services agencies is assessed against the ABS Standard Indigenous Question (SIQ). The SIQ is based upon self-identification by the individual who comes into contact with Corrective Services agencies.
29 For custodial corrections, initial indications are that corrective services agencies in all states and territories, with the exception of Western Australia, ask the SIQ as described above. South Australia asks a variation of the ABS' SIQ which generates the required output categories for Indigenous status.
30 Initial review suggests that corrective services agencies in all states and territories except Western Australia currently enter and store the ABS SIQ appropriately in recording systems for custodial data. For more information about Indigenous identification in community-based corrections refer to Appendix.
31 Some persons in custody are recorded with an unknown Indigenous status on the information systems of corrective agencies as their status has not been able to be obtained. Persons with Indigenous status unknown are excluded from tables 13 -16. Counts of persons with an unknown Indigenous status are included in all other tables. Unknowns account for just over 2% of all records.
New South Wales
32 In March 2008, the administrative classification of the Wellington Correctional Centre was altered. The classification was changed from 'open' to 'secure' for 75% of the facility to reflect the change in the profile of inmates held. As such, the proportion of persons in secure and open custody altered in the March quarter 2008 compared to previous quarters.
33 Quality assurance conducted in Queensland during the June quarter 2009 had resulted in a revision of the number of offenders under community based corrections during January, February and March 2009.
34 Quality assurance work conducted in Queensland during the September quarter 2007 resulted in the identification and elimination of duplicate and other records for the month of July 2007. Caution should be exercised when comparing data prior to the September quarter 2007.
35 The Corrective Services Act 2006 (Qld) commenced on 26 August 2006. One key provision in the new legislation relates to the management of offenders subject to Court-ordered Parole. This new order ensures that offenders serve 100% of their sentence under supervision, either in a correctional centre or under community supervision. This new order provides courts with the power to specify a parole release date for persons sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 3 years or less. Technical breaches of parole orders are no longer heard by a parole board and can often result in a person serving the remainder of their original sentence in custody. Court-ordered Parole is not available to sex offenders or serious violent offenders.
36 Data on community-based correction orders extracted from the South Australian information system from the June quarter 2005 may be subject to data processing time lags.
37 Data for persons in secure and open custody are extracted on the basis of the prisoner's security rating, rather than the location of the prisoner as per the standard definition (see Glossary). As a result, prisoners with a minimum security rating and located in a medium or maximum security prison are counted in the open custody numbers. Data for persons in secure custody may be understated and data for persons in open custody may be overstated.
38 Data for community-based correction orders extracted from the Western Australian information system are subject to data processing time lags of 4-6 weeks. Fine option orders are most likely to be impacted by the lag, with approximately 10% of each month's data entry delayed.
39 In the March, June and September quarter 2009 issues of this publication, the counts of sentenced prisoner receptions for the 2008 calendar year were incorrectly derived due to a system error. The 2008 calendar year figures have been revised (see Table 10).
40 Tasmania trialled new orders for bail, suspended sentences and drug treatment as part of the Court Mandated Diversion program (CMD) from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008. Counts for supervision (compliance) - bail orders during the September quarter 2008 represent the transitional period concluding this trial. These orders are now being handled by alternative service providers.
41 In September 2009 a new offender management system was implemented- the Integrated Offender Management System (IOMS). Caution should be exercised in comparing December 2009 data with previous quarters as the new system has resulted in significant increased counts for sentenced receptions and community-based orders. Bail counts for this quarter were also unable to be supplied, impacting on both the territory and Australian totals.
Australian Capital Territory
42 From the September quarter 2009, all ACT sentenced and unsentenced prisoners are held within the ACT. From the June quarter 2009 all sentenced prisoner receptions were detained within the Australian Capital Territory. For this same period nearly all ACT prisoners held in New South Wales prisons were transferred to a new custodial facility (Alexander Maconochie Centre) which commenced taking prisoners in March 2009. Between 2000 and March quarter 2009, persons sentenced to full-time custody by the Australian Capital Territory were usually held in New South Wales prisons as the Australian Capital Territory only had two remand centres for unsentenced prisoners and a periodic detention centre. Unsentenced Australian Capital Territory prisoners may have also been detained in New South Wales prisons. The exception was for persons sentenced for fine default; these prisoners were detained in Australian Capital Territory remand.
43 A backlog of prisoners sentenced in the ACT awaiting transfer to NSW remained in the ACT during the transition of the opening of the new ACT prison. These sentenced prisoners were classified as 'unsentenced' prior to the December quarter 2009. With the opening of the new prison, sentenced reception counts better reflect accurate recording of sentenced and unsentenced prisoners, resulting in an increase in sentenced prisoner receptions from the September quarter 2009.
44 From the June quarter 2009, the new ACT custodial facility contains minimum, medium and maximum security prisoners; data for persons in secure and open custody are extracted on the basis of the prisoner's security rating, rather than the location of the prisoner as per the standard definition (see Glossary). As a result, prisoners with a minimum security rating are only recorded in open custody and data may be understated for this category, while secure custody may be overstated.
45 To provide greater understanding of the number of prisoners attributed to the Australian Capital Territory, while presenting an accurate picture of the New South Wales prisoner population, statistics relating to Australian Capital Territory prisoners in New South Wales prisons prior to the June quarter 2009 are presented as a subset of the New South Wales figures.
46 The decline in supervision bail compliance orders in December 2008 may have been partly influenced by data quality checks. Records with no completion or expiry date that should have been finalised on the system were marked as completed during this period.
47 Imprisonment rate data for the Australian Capital Territory are calculated on the basis of the total number of Australian Capital Territory prisoners (i.e. Australian Capital Territory prisoners that were held in New South Wales prisons, prior to September quarter 2009, and Australian Capital Territory prisoners held in the Australian Capital Territory) divided by the estimated resident Australian Capital Territory adult population and multiplied by 100,000. For New South Wales, the imprisonment rate is based on the count of New South Wales prisoners, excluding Australian Capital Territory prisoners held in New South Wales prisons prior to September quarter 2009, divided by the estimated resident New South Wales adult population and multiplied by 100,000. Time series data have also been derived on this basis.
48 Other ABS publications that may be of interest include:
Australian Social Trends (cat. no. 4102.0) - issued quarterly
Australian Standard Offence Classification (second edition) (cat. no. 1234.0) - released 1 August 2008
Crime Victimisation, Australia (cat. no. 4530.0) - released 18 February 2009
Criminal Courts, Australia (cat. no. 4513.0) - issued annually
Experimental Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 1991 to 2021 (cat. no. 3238.0) - released 8 September 2009
General Social Survey: Summary Results, Australia (cat. no. 4159.0) - irregular
Information Paper: Measuring Crime Victimisation, Australia: The Impact of Different Collection Methodologies (cat. no. 4522.0.55.001) - single issue
Information Paper: National Criminal Justice Statistical Framework (cat. no. 4525.0) - single issue
Information Paper: National Information Development Plan for Crime and Justice Statistics 2005 (cat. no. 4520.0) - single issue
Measures of Australia's Progress (cat. no. 1370.0) - released 31 May 2006
Personal Fraud Survey (cat. no. 4528.0) - released 27 June 2008
Personal Safety Survey (cat. no. 4906.0) - released 21 August 2006
Prisoners in Australia (cat. no. 4517.0) - issued annually
Recorded Crime - Victims, Australia (cat. no. 4510.0) - issued annually
Recorded Crime - Offenders, Selected states and territories (cat. no. 4519.0) - released 27 August 2009
Sexual Assault in Australia: A Statistical Overview (cat. no. 4523.0) - single issue
49 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are available from the ABS website <http://www.abs.gov.au>. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the website that details products to be released in the week ahead. The National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics releases Crime and Justice News (cat. no. 4500.0), an annual newsletter that is published on the ABS website. The Centre can be contacted by email through <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
50 Non-ABS sources that may be of interest include:
Crime Research Centre, University of Western Australia, Crime and Justice Statistics for Western Australia - issued annually
Department of Corrective Services, New South Wales, NSW Inmate Census - irregular
Department of Justice, Northern Territory, Northern Territory Quarterly Crime and Justice Statistics - issued quarterly
Department of Justice, Victoria, Statistical Profile of the Victorian Prison System - issued annually
NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, New South Wales Criminal Courts Statistics - issued annually
Office of Crime Statistics and Research, South Australia, Crime and Justice in South Australia - issued annually
Steering Committee for the Review of Commonwealth/State Service Provision, Report on Government Services - issued annually
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This page last updated 16 June 2010