4500.0 - Crime and Justice News, Apr 2005  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/04/2005   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product


Copies of all publications can be ordered by contacting the ABS National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

Corrective Services, Australia (4512.0)

The September quarter 2004 issue of Corrective Services, Australia was released on 1 December 2004. This publication presents time series information on persons in custody and community-based corrections. Details are provided by state/territory on prisoner counts by type of custody, legal status, sentence type and Indigenous Status.

The average number of prisoners in full-time custody on the first day of the three months in the September quarter was 23,456. Of these, the average number of unsentenced prisoners was 4,908 (21%).

Graph; Persons in prison custody, Proprtion unsentenced per month

Prisoners in Australia (4517.0)

On 23 December 2004 the ABS released Prisoners in Australia 2004, with indicators on the characteristics of prisoners, sentence lengths and offences for which offenders are imprisoned. The publication provides a basis for measuring change in this population over time.

At 30 June 2004, there were 24,171 prisoners in Australia, an increase of 3% since 30 June 2003. The median aggregate sentence length was 3.2 years and the median expected time to serve was two years.

Almost 60% of male prisoners and 50% of female prisoners are known to have prior imprisonment.

The prisoner population in Australia has increased by more than 40% over the decade to June 2004, higher than the 15% growth in the Australian adult population in the same period.

The female prisoner population doubled to 1,672 over the decade, whilst the male prison population increased by 40% to 22,499 during the same time.

Overall, the adult imprisonment rate increased from 127 to 157 prisoners per 100,000 adult population over the decade to June 2004.

Other changes in the prison population for the 1994-2004 period include:
    • The proportion of unsentenced prisoners increased from 12% to 20%.
    • The proportion of sentenced prisoners serving an aggregate sentence length of 10 years or more increased from 10% to 13%.
Graph; Change in prisoner numbers between 30 June 1994 and 30 June 2004

Criminal Courts Australia (4513.0)

On 11 February 2005, the ABS released Criminal Courts, Australia 2003-04, providing a picture of the characteristics of defendants dealt with by the Higher (Supreme and Intermediate) and Magistrates' Criminal Courts, including information on offences and sentence types. Information on the characteristics of defendants finalised in the criminal jurisdiction of the Magistrates’ Courts is presented in the main suite of the publication for the first time. Previously, these data were experimental and included as an Appendix.

There were more than half a million (544,689) defendants finalised in the Higher Criminal Courts and Magistrates' Criminal Courts in 2003-04:
  • Most were finalised in the Magistrates' Courts (97%);
  • Nearly four in five (78%) were men, with half aged less than 35 years;
  • Defendants were more likely to be adjudicated in the Higher Courts for offences of Acts intended to cause injury (21% of those adjudicated) and Unlawful entry with intent (15% of those adjudicated);
  • Defendants were more likely to be adjudicated in the Magistrates' Courts for offences of Road traffic and motor vehicle regulatory offences (44% of those adjudicated) and Public order offences (9% of those adjudicated);
  • Most defendants (461,813 or 85%) were proven guilty (guilty plea or declared guilty);
  • For the women proven guilty in the Higher Courts and Magistrates' Courts in 2003-04, 93% received a non-custodial sentence, compared to 87% of men.
  • Defendants proven guilty were more likely to receive a custodial sentence in the Higher Courts compared with the Magistrates' Courts (78% and 9% of those proven guilty respectively).

Graph; Defendants proven guilty, Selected principal offence by principal sentence and court level