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4512.0 - Corrective Services, Australia, September Quarter 2013  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/11/2013   
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EXPLANATORY NOTES


INTRODUCTION

1 This publication presents statistical series about persons either held in adult corrective services custody or who are serving adult community-based orders in Australia. It contains data on the number of persons in custody by sex, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status, type of custody, legal status and sentence type; the number of sentenced persons received into corrective services custody each month; the number of federal prisoners; and data about the number of persons in community-based corrections by sex, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status and type of order.

2 Statistics presented in this publication are compiled in three ways:

  • Average daily prisoner population: Counts taken on each day of the month are summed and divided by the number of days in that month to determine the average daily prisoner population for that month. The average daily periodic detainee population is a count of persons on periodic detention on each day a centre is open, divided by the number of days a centre is open.
  • Sentenced prisoner reception figures: Counts are provided each month on the total number of receptions where a prisoner is received as a sentenced prisoner. This includes prisoners with a change of legal status from unsentenced to sentenced.
  • First day of the month prisoner population: Counts of prisoners and persons serving community-based corrections orders, taken on or near the first day of the month. For quarterly figures, the sum of the monthly data is divided by three; for yearly figures, the figures for each month are added and the total divided by twelve (see paragraph 13).

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.


DATA SOURCE

4 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.


SCOPE

5 The scope of the statistics in this publication includes all persons remanded or sentenced to adult custodial facilities (including Work Camps and Community Custody Centres in Queensland), or who are serving adult community-based orders in each state and territory in Australia.

6 Counts of prisoners in the following custodial facilities are included in the collection:
  • gazetted prisons in all jurisdictions;
  • periodic detention centres in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory;
  • community custody centres and work camps in Queensland;
  • cells in court complexes administered by corrective services in New South Wales;
  • transitional centres in New South Wales; and
  • lock-ups in Western Australia operated by the police but designated as a prison by the Chief Executive Officer of Corrective Services.

7 The prisons and community-based corrections collection excludes the following custodial facilities:
  • police lockups, police prisons and cells in court complexes not administered and controlled by corrective services;
  • gazetted police prisons in the Northern Territory;
  • juvenile detention centres, including those under the authority of adult corrective services;
  • immigration detention centres; and
  • military prisons.

8 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.

9 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.

10 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.

11 With the exception of Victoria and Tasmania, community-based corrections includes those persons with breached or suspended orders.


COUNTING RULES

12 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:
  • The Western Australian population is counted as at midnight on the last day of the month. The figures provided are taken to represent the prison population at the beginning of the following month.

13 Statistics for persons held in custody are presented by the state or territory in which they were held, however, this may not be the same as the original 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.

14 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.

15 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, the person will only be counted once in each order category.


RATES

16 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.

17 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).

18 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:
  • for the March quarter, ERP is from the previous September quarter;
  • for the June quarter, ERP is from the previous December quarter;
  • for the September quarter, ERP is from the previous March quarter;
  • for the December quarter, ERP is from the previous June quarter; and
  • annual rates are an average of the rates of the contributing quarters.

19 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:
  • Rates from the June 2013 quarter (excluding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rates) are calculated using ERP data based on the 2011 Census of Population and Housing;
  • Rates from the June 2007 quarter (excluding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rates) are calculated using rebased data from the intercensal period (2001-2006) sourced from the 2006 Census of Population and Housing;

20 For population estimates and information on the methodology used to produce the ERP, see Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0).


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment rates

21 Rates for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adult population are calculated using rebased estimates (for the period 1986 - 2006) and projections (2007 - 2021) of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander 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).

22 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 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life expectancy at birth for Australia:
  • In Series A, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life expectancy at birth will remain constant; and
  • In Series B, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life expectancy at birth will increase by 0.3 years per year for both males and females.

23 The impact of re-basing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander 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".

24 The decision to use Series B as the denominator in the calculation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment rates followed consultation with the National Corrective Services Statistics Advisory Group and other stakeholders.


ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER STATUS

25 The ABS conducts an ongoing programme of quality assurance to monitor and improve the quality of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Status data in Corrective Services agencies (both custodial and community-based corrections). Whilst the ABS has published Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status data in Corrective Services collections for a number of years, ongoing quality assurance enables better understanding of accuracy over time.

26 The quality of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status information collected and recorded in Corrective Service 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 Service agencies. In 2010, the ABS conducted a comprehensive quality assurance review across all jurisdictions and sectors of the criminal justice system to confirm our understanding of the processes involved in recording Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status and the barriers to producing quality statistics. The results of the review concluded that corrective services data are of acceptable quality and comparability for all states and territories, with the exception of Western Australia. In Western Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status is determined by asking two questions rather than asking the ABS SIQ at the first meeting. This is at the discretion of the case manager and in some instances Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status may be recorded from information previously collected or otherwise determined by the case manager. For this reason, caution should be exercised when comparing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander data from Western Australia to other states and territories.

27 Some persons in custody are recorded with an unknown Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status on the information systems of corrective services agencies as their status has not been able to be obtained or recorded. Persons with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status unknown are excluded from tables 13-16. Counts of persons with an unknown Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status are included in all other tables. Unknowns account for approximately 1% of all records.


SIGNIFICANT EVENTS

Victoria

28 Home detention was abolished in Victoria on 16 January 2012. On this date the Sentencing Legislation Amendment (Abolition of Home Detention) Act 2011 came into effect. As a result, home detention is no longer a sentencing option and can also no longer be given as a pre-parole option by the Adult Parole Board, as was the case previously. Any existing home detention orders issued before 16 January 2012 will continue to run until completed.


Western Australia

29 Data for community-based correction orders extracted from the Western Australian information system are subject to data processing time lags of 4-6 weeks.


Tasmania

30 Orders under the Court Mandated Diversion for Drug Offenders (CMD) returned to Community Corrections supervision in July 2010 and have been included in the electronic data from January 2012 onwards. Drug Treatment Orders are counted under Sentenced Probation, and CMD Bail Orders under Bail.

31 Tasmania opened a new open custody facility, O'Hara cottages located at Ron Barwick Minimum Security Prison in April 2013.

32 Tasmania introduced Monetary Penalty Community Service Orders in 2011. These orders are counted as Reparation - Fine option and are included in the data from the March quarter 2012.


Northern Territory

33 In September 2009 a new offender management system was implemented - the Integrated Offender Management System (IOMS). The transition to the new system resulted in a number of data impacts. The impacts included:
  • significantly increased counts, and potential over counting, for sentenced receptions and some community-based orders following the introduction of the system, and
  • overstated community-based orders for the period from December quarter 2009 to September quarter 2010 (due to difficulties in identifying persons who have been in breach for 3 years or more).

34 In March 2012 the Northern Territory introduced two new sentencing options, the Community Custody Order for non-violent and non-sexual offenders facing an imprisonment period of less than 12 months, and the Community-based Order for non-violent offenders and non-sexual offenders not facing an imprisonment period. These orders are both counted under Sentenced Probation and are included in the data from the June quarter 2012.


Australian Capital Territory

35 In July 2012 an audit was conducted by ACT Corrective Services of Reparation - Community Service files. As a result a number of breached orders were identified and actioned. The persons on these orders have returned to court and the original order has either been revoked or reactivated, depending on the Court outcome.

36 The ACT has changed the calculation method for persons serving Periodic Detention (with warrants) from the June Quarter 2013. This change means data from the June Quarter 2013 is not comparable to earlier data.


RELATED PUBLICATIONS

ABS Publications

37 Other ABS publications that may be of interest include:
38 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 <crime.justice@abs.gov.au>.


Non-ABS Publications

39 Non-ABS sources that may be of interest include:
      Australian Institute of Criminology, List of Publications - irregular
      <http://www.aic.gov.au>
      Department of Corrective Services, New South Wales, NSW Inmate Census - irregular
      <http://www.dcs.nsw.gov.au>
      Department of Justice, Northern Territory, Northern Territory Quarterly Crime and Justice Statistics - issued quarterly
      <http://www.nt.gov.au/justice/>
      Department of Justice, Victoria, Statistical Profile of the Victorian Prison System - issued annually
      <http://www.justice.vic.gov.au>
      NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, New South Wales Criminal Courts Statistics - issued annually
      <http://www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au>
      Office of Crime Statistics and Research, South Australia, Crime and Justice in South Australia - issued annually
      <http://www.ocsar.sa.gov.au>
      Steering Committee for the Review of Commonwealth/State Service Provision, Report on Government Services - issued annually
      <http://www.pc.gov.au>


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