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4512.0 - Corrective Services, Australia, Mar 2009  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/06/2009   
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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS


PERSONS IN CORRECTIVE SERVICES

Based on first day of the month averages, for the December quarter 2008, there were 83,171 persons under the authority of corrective services (excluding those in periodic detention). The total comprised 27,365 persons in full-time custody and 55,806 persons in community-based corrections. This represents an increase of 4% (2,906 persons) from the December quarter 2007. Over the same period, persons in full-time custody increased by 4% (923 persons) and persons in community-based corrections increased by 4% (1,983 persons).


PERSONS IN CUSTODY

Number of prisoners

PERSONS IN PRISON CUSTODY, Average daily number per month
Graph: Persons in prison custody, average daily number per month


During the December quarter 2008, the average daily number of full-time prisoners in Australia was 27,308 persons. This was an increase of less than 1% from the September quarter 2008, and of 4% on the December quarter 2007

PERSONS IN COMMUNITY-BASED CORRECTIONS, Average number on the first day of the month
Graph: PERSONS IN COMMUNITY-BASED CORRECTIONS, Average number on the first day of the month



Rates per 100,000 adults

Nationally, the December quarter 2008 average daily imprisonment rate was 166 prisoners per 100,000 adult population, an increase of 2% from the December quarter 2007 (163 prisoners). The Northern Territory had the highest imprisonment rate (629 prisoners per 100,000 adult population), followed by Western Australia (240) and New South Wales (184).

The Australian Capital Territory (including Australian Capital Territory prisoners held in New South Wales prisons) and Victoria had the lowest imprisonment rates (65 and 106 prisoners per 100,000 adult population respectively).

The Northern Territory recorded the largest proportional increase in imprisonment rates from the December quarter 2007 (14%). The largest proportional decrease over the same period was recorded in Tasmania (7%).

AVERAGE DAILY IMPRISONMENT RATE(a), By states and territories
Graph: Average daily imprisonment rate, by state and territory



Sex

Of the average daily number of full-time prisoners in Australia in the December quarter 2008, 25,355 (93%) were male and 1,953 (7%) were female. The average daily imprisonment rate for males was 313 prisoners per 100,000 adult male population, while for females it was 23 prisoners per 100,000 adult female population. Males were almost 14 times more likely to be in prison than females.


Indigenous Prisoners

The average daily number of full-time Indigenous adult prisoners in Australia in the December quarter 2008 was 6,758, comprising 6,202 (92%) males and 556 (8%) females. Over 75% of the total Indigenous prisoner population was located in New South Wales (2,080), Western Australia (1,663) and Queensland (1,456).

AVERAGE DAILY INDIGENOUS IMPRISONMENT RATE(a), Per month
Graph: Average Daily Indigenous imprisonment rate, per month


The national average daily Indigenous imprisonment rate in the December quarter 2008 was 2,240 per 100,000 adult Indigenous population, an increase of 1% from the previous quarter, and a 3% increase from the December quarter 2007.

The highest Indigenous imprisonment rate was recorded in Western Australia (3,811 Indigenous prisoners per 100,000 adult Indigenous population), followed by New South Wales (2,423) and South Australia (2,413). The lowest Indigenous imprisonment rate was recorded in Tasmania (614), followed by the Australian Capital Territory (1,004).

AVERAGE DAILY INDIGENOUS IMPRISONMENT RATE(a), By states and territories
Graph: Average Daily Indigenous imprisonment rate, by state and territory


The largest proportional increase in the Indigenous imprisonment rate from the December quarter 2007 was recorded in the Australian Capital Territory (including Australian Capital Territory prisoners held in New South Wales prisons), (31%), followed by the Northern Territory (16%). Tasmania was the only state to record a proportional decrease (5%) over the same period.

Different age profiles of the Indigenous and non-Indigenous population can affect the imprisonment rate numbers. The quarterly collection is unable to take age into account; however, data from the Prisoner Census collection can provide this level of detail.

The national age standardised Indigenous imprisonment rate from the annual Prisoner Census conducted at June 2008 was over 13 times higher (1,769 per 100,000 adult Indigenous population) than the rate for non-Indigenous persons (133 per 100,000 adult non-Indigenous population). Further information on the comparison of imprisonment rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations can be found in Prisoners in Australia 2008 (cat.no.4517.0).


Type of full-time custody

The average daily number of prisoners in secure prison custody in the December quarter 2008 was 21,095 (77% of prisoners in full-time custody). Open prison custody comprised 6,213 (23%) prisoners.

In the December quarter 2008, all prisoners held in full-time custody in the Australian Capital Territory were in secure custody. Of all the other states and territories, Queensland and Victoria both had the highest proportion of prisoners in secure custody (90%), followed by Tasmania (89%). New South Wales (including Australian Capital Territory prisoners held in New South Wales prisons) had the lowest proportion of prisoners in secure full-time custody (65%).


Legal status

The average number of prisoners in full-time custody on the first day of each month in the December quarter 2008 was 27,365, comprising an average of 20,996 (77%) sentenced and 6,370 (23%) unsentenced prisoners. Sentenced prisoners increased by 2% from the previous quarter and by 3% from the December quarter 2007.

Unsentenced prisoners decreased by 1% from the previous quarter and increased by 4% from the December quarter 2007. The Australian Capital Territory (including Australian Capital Territory prisoners held in New South Wales prisons) and South Australia had the highest proportions of unsentenced prisoners (62% and 33% respectively). The lowest proportions of unsentenced prisoners were recorded in Western Australia (19%), Victoria and Tasmania (both 20%).

UNSENTENCED PERSONS IN PRISON CUSTODY, Proportion per month
Graph: Unsentenced persons in prison custody, proportion per month



Sentenced Prisoner Receptions

There were 7,599 sentenced prisoner receptions into full-time custody in Australia in the December quarter 2008. This number increased by 216 (3%) from the September quarter 2008, and by 574 (8%) from the December quarter 2007.


Periodic detention

Periodic detention is a form of custody or order where a sentenced prisoner is required to be held in custody on a part-time basis. This type of custody order is only used in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. During the December quarter 2008 there was an average daily number of 751 persons in New South Wales and 59 persons in the Australian Capital Territory held in periodic detention. The rate of imprisonment for periodic detainees increased by 2% in New South Wales, and remained constant in the Australian Capital Territory from the September quarter 2008.


Federal prisoners

In the December quarter 2008, there were 696 federal prisoners in Australia, an increase of less than 1% from the December quarter 2007. More than half (409) of the federal prisoners were sentenced in New South Wales.


PERSONS IN COMMUNITY-BASED CORRECTIONS

Community-based corrections orders are non-custodial orders served under the authority of adult corrective services agencies and include restricted movement, fine option, community service, parole, bail, and sentenced probation. Quarterly averages are based on first day of the month figures. In the December quarter 2008, there were 55,806 persons in community-based corrections in Australia, an increase of 1% (654 persons) from the September quarter 2008 and 4% (1,983 persons) from the December quarter 2007.


Sex

Of the average number of persons in community-based corrections in Australia in the December quarter 2008, 45,579 (82%) were male and 10,142 (18%) were female.


Rates per 100,000 adults

Nationally, the rate of persons in community-based corrections was 339 persons per 100,000 adult population for the December quarter 2008. This was an increase of 2% from the December quarter 2007 (334 persons per 100,000 adults). The largest increase from the December quarter 2007 was recorded in the Australian Capital Territory (10%). The largest decrease was recorded in the Northern Territory (9%).

COMMUNITY-BASED CORRECTIONS RATE(a), Per month
Graph: Community-based corrections rate, per month


COMMUNITY-BASED CORRECTIONS RATE(a), By states and territories
Graph: Community-based corrections rate, by state and territory


In the December quarter 2008, the rate of community-based corrections for males was 563 per 100,000 adult male population compared to 122 females per 100,000 adult female population. Males were almost five times more likely to be in community-based corrections than females.


Type of orders

In the December quarter 2008, there were 12,587 persons serving parole orders following a period of imprisonment, an increase of 3% from the September quarter 2008. Three states accounted for more than three quarters (80%) of persons serving parole orders: New South Wales (4,387 persons), Queensland (4,127) and Victoria (1,500). The largest proportional increase in parole orders from the September quarter 2008 was recorded in Tasmania (8%), followed by Queensland and South Australia (both 4%).

For this same period, there were 33,785 persons under sentenced probation and 9,863 persons serving community service orders.


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